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Maynard Ferguson

Walter "Maynard" Ferguson was a Canadian-born jazz trumpet player and bandleader. He came to prominence playing in Stan Kenton's orchestra, before forming his own band in 1957. He was noted for being able to play accurately in a remarkably high register, and for his bands, which served as stepping stones for up-and-coming talent.

Early life and education
Ferguson was born in Verdun, Quebec (now part of Montreal). Encouraged by his mother and father (both musicians), Maynard was playing piano and violin by the age of four. At nine years old, he heard a cornet for the first time in his local church and asked his parents to purchase him one. At age 13, Ferguson first soloed as a child prodigy with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra and was heard frequently on the CBC, notably featured on a Serenade for Trumpet in Jazz written for him by Morris Davis. Ferguson won a scholarship to the French Conservatory of Music where he studied from 1943 through 1948 with Bernard Baker.

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Yuri Honing: Sounds And Vision

Read "Yuri Honing: Sounds And Vision" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Strange that such a gruesome tale, drowning in blood, could have inspired so much great art. So it goes with Bluebeard, the seventeenth century French folktale, which continues to inspire artists to this day. Dutch saxophonist/composer Yuri Honing's Bluebeard (2020)-- his fourth album on Challenge Records with his acoustic quartet--is not just a highly personal take ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Roberto Magris: Suite!

Read "Suite!" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Italian pianist/composer Roberto Magris could not have anticipated the urgent need for a positive message when he recorded Suite! in 2018. The newly released double album reflects Magris' belief that a better world is coming and his certainty is conveyed in a sprawling program of poetry, original compositions, and some surprising covers. He has recorded as ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Tales of The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed - Jazz Societies, Part II

Read "Tales of The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed - Jazz Societies, Part II" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz Societies, Part 1 briefly traced the preservation and interpretation of jazz from the oral history of its West African roots through academic and cultural institutions. The article included an overview of jazz societies and foundations that further the fostering of jazz education. The organizations vary in scope, size ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Bob Freedman: Jazz Themes

Bob Freedman: Jazz Themes

Bob Freedman was a wonderful arranger and ardent JazzWax reader. His finest arrangement was And We Listened for Maynard Ferguson's A Message From Newport (1958). He finest album was the little-known Jazz Themes From Anatomy of a Murder. The album was recorded at Boston's Ace Studios for the Coronet label in 1959—the same year Otto Preminger's ...

ARTICLE: SOCAL JAZZ

Alan Pasqua: Keys That Unlock Many Doors

Read "Alan Pasqua: Keys That Unlock Many Doors" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Recently, and just a few days before Thanksgiving (2019), I was thankful for the opportunity to have two separate conversations with renown pianist Alan Pasqua. As generous with his time and candid commentary as he is talented as a musician and composer, both conversations crashed the one-hour mark. For you non mathematicians, that is over two ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Rich Willey Boptism Funk Band: Conspiracy

Read "Conspiracy" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Both before and after his first terrific recording as leader--Gone with the Piggies (Consolidated Artists Productions, 1988)--Asheville, North Carolina-based Rich Willey has been a very busy jazzman. During that period, Willey spent dues-playing time with Philly Phenoms, New York Bopsters, did a stint with the great Maynard Ferguson, authored dozens of well-acclaimed trumpet and jazz improv ...

ARTICLE: SOCAL JAZZ

Bob Sheppard: The Clark Kent of Jazz

Read "Bob Sheppard: The Clark Kent of Jazz" reviewed by Jim Worsley

An unassuming bespectacled man in his mid-sixties walks on to the stage. In a band with stellar, famous, and maybe flashier musicians, one could be forgiven if they didn't even notice him right away. But as soon as Bob Sheppard presses a saxophone, clarinet, or flute onto his lips, he is super, man! An incredible musician ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Master Drummer Jason Harnell Breaks New Ground With Experimental CD And Multimedia Experience, Total Harnage

Master Drummer Jason Harnell Breaks New Ground With Experimental CD And Multimedia Experience, Total Harnage

When Jason Harnell was six years old, his father, Grammy winning composer and arranger Joe Harnell, invited Louie Bellson to their house to hear the budding prodigy play. After playing a 15-minute solo, the legendary drummer handed the sticks to Jason and said, “Your turn.” When Jason finished, an impressed Bellson gave the boy his drum ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Rich Willey: Down & Dirty

Read "Down & Dirty" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Back in 2001, trumpeter/composer/educator Rich Willey released a critically acclaimed album titled Gone with the Piggies (CAP Records). As a result, a savvy audience has followed him cult-like ever since. With Down and Dirty, the former Maynard Ferguson standout delivers a bacchanalia presentation both as player and composer, surrounded by a unit of Los Angeles' finest ...


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