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Maynard Ferguson Passes Away at Age 78

(Mitch - have you seen this yet?).

Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson dies at age 78 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jazz trumpeter and big-band leader Walter "Maynard" Ferguson, famed for his screaming solos and ability to hit blisteringly high notes, has died at age 78, associates said on Thursday.

The Montreal-born Ferguson died on Wednesday at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California, of kidney and liver failure brought on by an abdominal infection.

His four daughters and other family members were at his side when he died.
Ferguson started his career at 13 when he performed as a featured soloist with the Canadian Broadcasting Co. Orchestra.

He played with several of the great big-band leaders of the 1940s and '50s, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Barnett, Jimmy Dorsey and Stan Kenton, with whom he was a featured performer. He became known with the Kenton band for being able to hit "ridiculous high notes with ease," according to jazz critic Scott Yarnow.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz says of Ferguson: "There are few sights more impressive in animal physiology than the muscles in Maynard Ferguson's upper thorax straining for a top C.
"... Putting a Ferguson disc on the turntable evokes sensations ranging from walking into a high wind to being run down by a truck," according to the Penguin Guide.

Among Ferguson's best known and most commercially successful recordings were "MacArthur Park" and the "Rocky" movie theme, "Gonna Fly Now."
In 1957, Ferguson formed a regular big band that lasted until 1965. It included a Who's Who of jazz greats as sidemen, including Slide Hampton, Don Ellis, Don Sebesky, Willie Maiden, John Bunch, Joe Zawinul, Joe Farrell and Jaki Byard.

After the band broke up, Ferguson spent time in India and Britain, where he formed a new ensemble. He returned to the United States in 1974 with yet another group often panned by jazz critics for its commercialism.
His later work was praised for its return to the jazz mainstream.

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This article: http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=1250262006
That's too bad. I saw him several years ago when he played at the college I was attending. Such a great jazz musician.
What an excellent artist. I remember seeing him with my grandfather about 15 years ago. What a great memory...
I'v been a fan of his for over 50 years, my wife almost as long. We have seen him in person twice and he will be missed by many.
Wow. I hadn't seen this. One of my best friends was Maynard's pianist for a few years in the late 90s and tells tons of great stories about Maynard and being in the band.

My dad took me to see Maynard when I was in middle school, and I remember it like it was yesterday. What not a lot of people know about him was that he was, in addition to being a great lead player, a fantatstic improviser. There are some old quartet albums from the 50s where he solos and sounds like Chet Baker--very melodic and pretty, no screaming, very tasty. And then he could turn around and play double Cs at the drop of a hat. Kind of like being a great pitcher and a great home run hitter.

Maynard was definitely one of a kind--its truly the end of an era.
I've been a Maynard fan for 30 years. I was lucky enough to see him perform several times, and following a performace at the Texas Women's College in Denton, TX, was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with he and his band. A true gentleman, kind and jovial. He will be missed.

Got to see Maynard when he came and did a clinic for my daughter's HS band, and then a show afterwards. He shook the rafters! His band was great with the students, and he was a class act. May he rest in peace, and I hope the angels are enjoying the music!
I'm thinking...Maynard, Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton...not a "Rock and Rolll Heaven", but wouldn't jazz lovers think they had died and gone with them!

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