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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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MAYNARD FERGUSON

M.F. Horn/M.F. Horn 2/M.F. Horn 3

BGO Records BGOCD 1110

 

 


CD1

M.F. Horn

1. Eli’s Comin’

2. Ballad To Max

3. MacArthur Park

4. Chala Nata

5. If I Thought You’d Ever Change Your Mind

6. L-Dopa

Maynard Ferguson - Trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone

Alan Downey, Martin Drover, John Huckdridge, John Donnelly - Trumpets

Billy Graham, Chris Pyne, Albert Wood - Trombones

Pete King - Alto sax

Danny Moss, Brian Smith - Tenor saxes

Bob Watson - Baritone sax

Pete Jackson - Piano

Dave Lynane - Bass, bass guitar

Randy Jones - Drums

George Kish - Guitar

Frank Ricoti - Conga drums

M.F. Horn 2

7. Give It One

8. Country Road

9. Theme From "Shaft"

10. The Summer Knows

CD2

M.F. Horn 2

1. Mother

2. Spinning Wheel

3. Free Wheeler

4. Hey Jude

Maynard Ferguson – Trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone

John Donnelly, Martin Drover, Alan Downey, Mike Bailey, Bud Parks -Trumpets

Billy Graham, Adrian Drover, Norman Fripp, Derek Wadsworth - Trombones

Jeff Daly, Brian Smith, Bob Sydor, Bob Watson, Stan Robinson – Saxes

Dave Lynane - Bass, bass guitar

Pete Jackson - Piano, electric piano

Randy Jones – Drums

Ray Cooper , Harold Fisher - Percussion

M.F. Horn 3

5. Awright, Awright

6. Round Midnight

7. Nice ‘n Juicy

8. Pocahontas

9. Love Theme From "The Valachi Papers"

10. Mother Fingers

11. S.O.M.F.

Maynard Ferguson – Trumpet, flugelhorn, superbone

Alan Downey, Mike Davis,. Tony Mabbett, Terry Noonan -Trumpets, flugelhorns

Billy Graham, Adrian Drover, Geoff Wright - Trombones

Andy MacIntosh - Alto sax

Tony Buchanan - Tenor sax

Bruce Johnston - Baritone sax

Pete Jackson - Piano

Dave Markee - Bass

Randy Jones – Drums

Ray Cooper - Latin

Vimu Macunda - Veena

In October 1967, Maynard Fergsuon did a week's gig at Club 43 in Manchester with an English pick-up band. Many of that band's members stayed together and helped to form the band which Maynard led in Britain in the early 1970s. This double album contains three of the albums which he recorded with that band.

Ferguson, who was actually a Canadian, had made his name in the early fifties in Stan Kenton's orchestra, where his high-note antics made him stand out. He apparently came to Britain because he had become disenchanted with America's commerrcial approach to jazz, although the repertoire on this album suggests that he was still seeking success with popular hits such as Hey Jude and MacArthur Park (the latter gave him an American hit in 1970). Other explanations for him leaving the USA were that his house had burned down and left him penniless, and that he was being pursued for unpaid taxes. Whatever the reason, he went first to India and then (in 1968) to Britain, where he began to record, including the three LPs included here.

Like many Maynard Ferguson albums, these three are very much showpieces for Maynard himself, who solos on nearly every track. The LPs were also dominated by the brass, which sometimes makes them painful to hear, with subtlety giving way to swaggering. For me, a little of Maynard's high-note shenanigans go a long way: they are more tuneful than (say) Cat Anderson's stratospheric attempts with Duke Ellington's orchestra but they can still pall quite quickly. So I will simply try to pick out the highpoints, rather than describing each Ferguson solo in detail.

When these recordings were made in the early 1970s, British musicians were still only gradually overcoming the prejudice against them which had generally regarded them as infrior to their American counterparts. Yet this album proves that Britain had plenty of superb musicians who were excellent soloists. For example, altoist Pete King and tenorist Danny Moss both furnish eloquent solos on Ballad to Max and MacArthur Park. Tenorist Stan Robinson adds a swirling solo to Mother. And pianist Peter Jackson supplies many of the solo highlights on the album.

Honourable mention should be also made of such British arrangers as Keith Mansfield and Alan Downey, who provide some of the album's finest ensemble moments.

The sleeve-notes are voluminous and very useful. I had never realised that "M.F. Horn" had a particular meaning in America because "M.F." didn't just mean Maynard Ferguson's initials!

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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