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Chet Baker - 13 Transcribed Solos
Miles Davis At Birdland
Miles Davis At Birdland
Maynard Ferguson
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Maynard Ferguson Solos

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Maynard Ferguson Maynard Ferguson - Trumpeter, flugelhornist, valve trombonist, bandleader, b Verdun (part of Montreal) 4 May 1928. As a child he studied piano and violin, and played the latter instrument in a Fox-Movietone short. Taking up the trumpet at nine, he was a member in his teens of dance bands led by Stan Wood (saxophonist), Roland David, and Johnny Holmes (his older brother Percy, a baritone saxophonist, also played for Holmes) and studied 1943-8 at the CMM with Bernard Baker. Ferguson was heard frequently on CBC radio and on one occasion played a Serenade for Trumpet in Jazz written for him by Morris Davis. While leading his own band in the Montreal area and in Toronto during the mid-1940s Ferguson came to the attention of US bandleaders. As Paul Bley recalled (Montreal Gazette, 28 Oct 1978), 'Maynard would always open the show, and he played three octaves higher on trumpet than anyone else... you ought to have seen the jaws drop on the visiting musicians'.

Ferguson went to the USA in 1948 and worked in turn in the big bands of Boyd Raeburn, Jimmy Dorsey, and Charlie Barnet until 1950. It was during his term 1950-3 with Stan Kenton that he first received great public acclaim, winning the Down Beat readers' polls for trumpet in 1950, 1951, and 1952. He made his first records under his own name in 1950, for Capitol, leading the Kenton band of the day.

Maynard Ferguson After playing 1953-6 in Hollywood studio orchestras under contract to Paramount and recording with small groups (his own and others), he formed the Birdland Dreamland Band to perform at the New York jazz club Birdland. This was the first of several 'small' big bands (12 or 13 musicians) with which Ferguson toured until 1965, appearing at festivals and in clubs and concerts. He then turned briefly to a still smaller ensemble, although he performed and recorded at Expo 67 with a big band and a sextet, both comprising Montreal musicians.

Ferguson spent a year in India studying meditation and lecturing on music, then moved in 1968 to England. It was with a 17-piece English band, which combined the orchestral conventions of jazz and the rhythmic vigour of rock, that he regained and even surpassed his former popularity. The band made its North American debut in 1971, and its recording of MacArthur Park was popular early in the decade. With New York as his home base after 1973, Ferguson gradually replaced the English musicians with young US players, reducing the band again to 13. His recording of Gonna Fly Now, the theme from the film Rocky, was a major hit single (by the standard for pop intrumentals) 1977-8; it was followed by a second lesser hit in 1978, the theme from the movie Battlestar Galactica. His album Conquistador exceeded 500,000 in US sales.

Maynard Ferguson In the mid-1980s, by which time Ferguson had moved to Ojai, Cal, he reduced his band still further and in 1987 introduced High Voltage, a fusion septet. By 1990, however, he was leading a more traditionallly-based nonet, the Big Bop Nouveau Band. Ferguson's extensive touring itinerary, which still found him on the road 8 months of every 12 in the early 1990s, has included many Canadian appearances. He performed on such CBC TV shows as 'Parade' and 'In the Mood' and, with his band, has played at the Stratford Festival (1958), in many concert halls (Massey Hall, PDA, etc), at Canadian Stage Band Festival (MusicFest Canada), regularly during the early 1980s at Ontario Place, and in 1982 and 1990 at the FIJM. He also played solo trumpet in the opening ceremonies of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Several Canadians have been members of his bands - eg, the singer Anne Marie Moss, the tenor saxophonist Georgie Auld, and the trombonists Rob McConnell and Phil Gray. KennyWheeler composed and arranged for Ferguson's English band.

While Ferguson's dramatic virtuosity in the extreme upper registers of the trumpet (extending with ease to double-high 'C') and the bravado and invariably au courant style of his band have taken his popularity beyond the jazz world, they also have brought him a certain amount of critical disdain. Typically, the FIJM aside, the Ferguson band was rarely heard at the Canadian jazz festivals that flourished in the 1980s. His tendency towards exhibitionism - his grandstanding high notes and his use for many years of an aria from I Pagliacci as an encore - has led to his dismissal in some quarters as a mere showman. However, much of his work in the small-group context reveals a mature improviser whose high-note facility becomes a well-integrated aspect of an expressive and lyrical style. A natural leader, Ferguson has shown the ability to form and mould an ensemble of young musicians, and to infuse it with his own considerable energy and enthusiasm.

Discography

Jam Session. 1954. EmArcy MG-36009/Trip TLP-5525

Hollywood Party. 1954. EmArcy MG-36046

Dimensions. 1954, 1955. EmArcy MG-36044/Trip TLP-5507

Octet. Includes Auld tenor saxophone. 1955. EmArcy MG-36021

Around the Horn. 1955, 1956. EmArcy MG-36076/Trip TLP-5558

Birdland Dreamband. 1956. Vik LX-1070

Birdland Dreamband, vol 2. 1956. Vik LX-1077 Reissued with Vik LX-1070 on CD in 1987 as Bluebird 6455-2-RB

Boy with Lots of Brass. 1957. EmArcy MG-36114

Message from Newport. 1958. Rou S-52012

Swingin' My Way through College. 1958. Rou S-2508

Message from Birdland. 1959. Rou S-52027

Maynard Ferguson Plays Jazz for Dancing. Includes Moss voice. 1959, 1960. Rou S-52038

Newport Suite. 1960. Rou S-52047. Reissued with Message from Newport on 2-Rou RE-116

Let's Face the Music and Dance. 1960. Rou S-52055

Maynard '61. 1960 or 1961. Rou S-52064

'Straightaway' Jazz Themes. 1961. Rou S-52076

Maynard '62. 1962. Rou S-52083

Si! Si! M.F. 1962. Rou S-52084. Reissued with Maynard '61 on 2-Rou RE-112

Maynard '63. 1963. Rou S-52090

Message from Maynard. 1963. Rou S-52101

Maynard '64. 1963. Rou S-52107

The New Sounds of Maynard Ferguson. 1963. Cameo S-1046

Come Blow Your Horn. 1963. Cameo S-1066

Colour Him Wild. Includes McConnell trombone. 1964. Mainstream M-56031. Reissued as Dues. Mainstream MRL-359

Blues Roar. 1965. Mainstream M-56045. Reissued as Screamin' Blues. Mainstream MRL-316

The Maynard Ferguson Sextet. 1965. Mainstream M-56060. Reissued as Six by Six. Mainstream MRL-372

Ridin' High. 1967. Enterprise S-13-101. Also released as Freaky. Atlantic 264-4008

Maynard Ferguson Sextet. With John Christie alto saxophone, Barley tenor saxophone, Maiste piano, Fasano double-bass, Page drums. 1967. RCI 264

Maynard Ferguson and His Orchestra. Includes Danovitch alto saxophone, Barley and Ayoub tenor saxophone, Landry vibraphone, Romandini guitar, Maiste piano. 1967. RCI 265

Maynard and Gustav (Brom). 1968. Supraphon 115 0716

Maynard '69. 1969. Prestige 7636. Also released as Trumpet Rhapsody. BASF MB-20662

The Ballad Style of Maynard Ferguson. 1968. CBS 63514

M.F. Horn. 1970. Col SC-30466

Maynard Ferguson. 1971. Col SC-31117

M.F. Horn II. 1972. Col KC-31709. Reissued with M.F. Horn on 2-Col CG-33660

M.F. Horn III. 1973. Col KC-32403

M.F. Horn IV and V: Live at Jimmy's. 1973. 2-Col KG-32732

Chameleon. 1974. Col KC-33007

Primal Scream. 1975. Col PC-33953

Conquistador. 1976. Col PC-34457

New Vintage. 1977. Col JC-34971

Carnival. 1978. Col JC-35480

Hot. (1979). Col JC-36124

Best of Maynard Ferguson. (1980). Col JC-36361

It's My Time. (1980). Col JC-36766

Hollywood. (1982). Col FC-37713

Storm. 1892. Palo Alto PA-8052

Live from San Francisco. 1983. Palo Alto 8077

Body and Soul. 1986. Black-Hawk BKH-50101

High Voltage. 1987. Intima 73269

High Voltage 2. 1988. Intima 73360

Big Bop Nouveau. (1990). Intima 73390

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