Friday, January 06, 2006


I don't think it's righteous that Chuck Mangione has ended up the butt of "King of the Hill" episodes and largely dismissed by jazz purists. I wouldn't want to be without "Feels So Good," the song and the CD. Maynard Ferguson is another trumpeter (yeah, yeah, I know Chuck plays the flugelhorn) whose reputation suffers from a number of so-so attempts at commercial success over the years. But like Mangione, Ferguson has some gems on his resume as well.

Take "Hollywood Jam Sessions," Fresh Sound Records, which I bought recently. It's an exciting small-group (Ferguson plays with two different combinations on the disk) collection of swing and bebop and sometimes both at once, like "Night Letter." Besides fine group play, it features tasty solos from Ferguson and the rest of the horns, including Bud Shank on alto sax, outstanding Bob Cooper on tenor and trombonist Milt Bernhart, who gets in a memorable run on "Love Is Here to Stay."

Of course Ferguson hits some of his trademark high notes, but he also shows all-around trumpeting skills in the four 1954 blowing sessions, which span 14 to 16 minutes each. Russ Freeman, who played a lot with Chet Baker and was a top-notch bop and cool jazz pianist, is on two tracks, as are big hitters Curtis Counce on bass and Shelly Manne and Max Roach on drums. "Air Conditioned" is just plain hot. Prime stuff.

1 comment:

Carl Abernathy said...

"The New Sounds Of Maynard Ferguson And His Orchestra 1964" is a pretty fine record, too.