The Official Philadelphia Maynard Ferguson Tribute Concert
The Media Theater - December 6, 2006
This space is dedicated to trumpet legend, big band leader, educator, and friend, Maynard Ferguson. Maynard passed away in August of 2006 at the age of seventy-eight as the last of the living legends of the big band era. His enthusiasm for music and his love of life touched everyone who knew him, as well as those who were privileged to witness his artistic genius. His concerts were always filled with energy and excitement that took the listener, as well as the players in the band, on a musical journey through a unique blend of big band and straight ahead jazz, touched with Latin American flavor and Indian Raga styles. Maynard was the ultimate performer and showman. He always looked at each concert, whether at a high school, a jazz club, or a concert hall with positive anticipation and unequivocal musicianship.
My exposure to Maynard's music began in 1977 when I heard the "Conquistador" album for the very first time. From the downbeat of the Rocky theme, I was a fan and had to have more. It wasn't just this particular song or album with which I was enraptured, but the taste fostered an insatiable desire to experience the sound of everything that this band and trumpet player executed throughout the course of their careers. There was something about the arrangements and the way in which they were interpreted that delivered a perfectly well-rounded and packaged presentation of range, dynamics, phrasing, and energy. It was the combination of these elements that led me to look for as many recordings as possible. I immediately began seeking concert advertisements in the Philadelphia area, and, together with a friend who had a mutual admiration for MF and his style, started attending performances.
I first met Maynard around 1980 and
established a relationship that lasted until his passing. I was fortunate
enough to have him record, on the MF Horn VI album, a modified arrangement of
"Frame for the Blues" that I gave him. He also gratuitously played arrangements
of "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and "Take the A-Train" that I modified
from his original charts to fit the Big Bop Nouveau Band. Our relationship led
to friendships for me with many of his band members. In particular, I'd like to
say a special thank you to Ed Sargent, Denis DiBlasio, Ray Brinker, and Reggie
Watkins for their personal and professional support over the years.
In closing, the rest of this space is dedicated to the Philadelphia tribute concert which was held in December of 2006. The idea for this concert started while Roger Ingram and I had a conversation in St. Louis, Missouri at Maynard's official memorial concert about keeping Maynard's music alive. On the flight back to Philadelphia from St. Louis, Denis DiBlasio and I also spoke of the same sentiments. Out of those conversations came the privilege to have the John Hoey Orchestra be the core band for this very mystical and magical evening. Eight of Maynard's alumni joined us on stage to pay tribute to him and we all felt that Maynard was definitely there in spirit. This sentiment was echoed by many of the Boss's fans who were in the audience. Please visit this site often to see updates of pictures, sound bites, and other elements of the evening that, as they become available to me, will be posted here.
John & Maynard - 1988 John & Maynard - 2005
The Philadelphia Tribute Show: Pictures Sound Bites Publicity Set-list The Band
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