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Goodbye, Maynard

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Nathan Strum




Maynard Ferguson passed away yesterday at the age of 78.


I won't try to recap his life or career. You can read all about that here.


Maynard wasn't the reason I started playing trumpet originally, but he was certainly the spark that ignited my interest in playing jazz, and in fact, kicked off my love of jazz in the first place.


He toured pretty much his entire life, right up until the end. I hope that I can find something that I love to do that much, and be able to leave something of it behind for other people to enjoy, too.


Here's an astonishing clip of Maynard with Stan Kenton in 1950. (Note: this clip was pulled from YouTube... again.)


One of Maynard in the 60's.



Maynard wasn't a household name, but he inspired countless trumpet players, single-handedly expanded the range of trumpet music, and launched the careers of probably hundreds of musicians who played with him throughout the years. Recently he recorded a new studio album, and included some alumni from previous bands in the sessions. There's a nice write up and photos here. What a great way to go out. Surrounded by friends, doing what you love to do the most.


There will never be another like him, and he will be sorely missed. But we'll always have his music to enjoy. Hopefully more of his recordings will see release on CD someday. When your career spans over 56 years, there's a lot to listen to.


Bye Maynard.

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Thanks for the YouTube clip. Very nice. S'funny, I just found my sheet music for MacArthur Park (the piano part) about a month ago and was wondering if Mr. Ferguson was still alive. I guess my question's been answered.


I played (passably, but not well) the tuba (marching band) and french horn (concert band) in college, but I was never, ever able to get a decent sound out of a trumpet.

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Had to add this clip to the comments, too. It's Maynard with an unbelievably tight band in 1977.


As an aside, his excellent live album "MF Horn 4 & 5: Live at Jimmy's" is finally being released on CD this month. This is one of Maynard's best works ever, and it's hard to believe it has taken this long for the CD to be released. I pre-ordered mine weeks ago, and I'm dying for it to get here!

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