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Storm

Maynard Ferguson

Omnivore 2015

Review by David Bowling

 

Maynard Ferguson, jazz trumpet player and band leader, could hit seemingly impossibly high register notes. He learned his craft while serving in bands led by the likes of Stan Kenton, Jimmy Dorsey, and Charlie Barnett. He formed his own band in 1957 and was able to remain relevant and popular from the end of the big band era through the rock and roll era until his death in 2006.

He explored a number of styles and sounds within a big band setting. Swing, bebop, and cool jazz dominated the first part of his career. During the 1970’s and early 1980’s he moved in a more commercial direction as musical tastes changed during the disco era. In 1982 he moved in a fusion direction, combining a big band foundation with classical jazz, which brings us to the re-issue of his 1982 album Storm.

His brassy cover of Duke Ellington’s “Take The A Train” is unique and his funky take on the “Sesame Street Theme” gives new life to the old children’s ditty. Original compositions “Go With The Flo” and “Hit In The Head” help establish the sound that would carry his band for the rest of his career. He even provides the vocal for the classic “As Tears Go By.”

Storm was one of several turning points in the career of Maynard Ferguson and it retains it freshness 36 years after its original release.

Rating: ***1/2

 

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