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Maynard Ferguson

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Birthday: May 4, 1928

Birthplace: Not Available

Over six decades and then some, hard bop crossover bop trumpeter Maynard Ferguson cultivated and sustained a reputation as one of the highest-octave players on the American jazz scene. Ferguson's incessant (and occasionally dubious) tendency to commercialize alienated critics, but he sustained a devoted following throughout his frequent stylistic shifts and experimentation.Born and raised in Verdun, Canada (a city later annexed by Montreal), Ferguson led a big band in his hometown but migrated to the States in the late '40s and took his first musical bow in 1950 as a key contributor to Stan Kenton's Innovations Orchestra. He immediately gained notoriety for a range so high, it excelled that of any of his contemporaries. The trumpeter left Kenton in 1953, and worked in L.A. studios for three years; in 1956, he formed the all-star Birdland Dreamband, and -- one year later -- assembled yet another big band. Numerous Roulette recordings followed through 1965. In the late '60s, Ferguson's life took a countercultural turn when he joined one of Dr. Timothy Leary's acid communes. He dropped out of society and headed to India, returning to the charts -- in the '70s -- as an aggressively commercial musician, with Meco-like reworkings of the Rocky and Star Wars themes that deprived him of thousands of listeners. He returned to more traditional bop -- with occasional forays into funk -- via the formation of several ensembles in the '80s and '90s, first High Voltage and then the Big Bop Nouveau Band. Ferguson died of kidney and liver failure on August 23, 2006.During his life, Ferguson made a scant few film appearances but served as the focal point of a 1980 documentary, Maynard Ferguson: Big, Bold & Brassy. He also headlined (with the late fusion cornettist and flautist Don Cherry) the 1988 jazz concert film Sass & Brass: A Jazz Session. That film also includes such giants as Branford Marsalis, Sarah Vaughan and Herbie Hancock. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi



No Score Yet Diane Schuur: Live from Seattle Actor 2006
No Score Yet Maynard Ferguson: Live from the King Cat Theater Actor 2004


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