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.)
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.