The Louisville All-Star Big Band: Remembering Maynard
September 27th, 2006 06:56
show was incredible!!!
By The BST
What a show! I mean, WOW!!! I'm not just blowing my
own horn (pun intended). Sure, I put it together -
but I take no credit for all the musicians' talents.
Patrick Hession (Maynard Ferguson's last lead
trumpet) was absolutely phenomenal. His tone and
mastery of the stratosphere immediately made jaws
drop. Many couldn't believe their ears. His double-C
at the end of "Danny Boy" was held out longer than
I've ever heard! It really made the audience
reminisce about their favoite Maynard
concert/recording. The only thing that would've been
better? Maynard himself. It was obvious more than a
little of M.F. rubbed off on Patrick in the 6+ years
he occupied the most gruelling chair in jazz!
View full Article
Maynard Ferguson, 78; Trumpeter, Big Band Leader
Achieved Pop Success
August 25th, 2006 00:00
Jon Thurber, Times Staff Writer
August 25, 2006
Maynard Ferguson, the big band leader and trumpeter
whose screaming, high-register solos and pop-tinged
arrangements thrilled his fans and sometimes appalled
his critics, died Thursday. He was 78.
Ferguson died of kidney and liver failure, brought on
by an abdominal infection, at Community Memorial
Hospital in Ventura, said Steve Schankman, his
FOR THE RECORD:
Maynard Ferguson obituary: The obituary of jazz
trumpeter Maynard Ferguson in Friday's California
section said he died Thursday. He died Aug. 23rd.
An active musician, Ferguson recorded 60 albums in
his long career and generally played about 150 annual
engagements up until last year, Schankman said.
He had a weeklong run at the Blue Note in New York
City last month, which he followed up by recording a
new album with his Big Bop Nouveau band. He was due
to begin a tour of Japan with the band in
He started experiencing health problems on his return
to his home in Ojai, Schankman said, and was
hospitalized as his condition deteriorated.
Schankman said he spoke to Ferguson by phone on
Monday and the musician told him, "Don't cancel
anything . we are going to beat this."
Ferguson was nominated for a Grammy award in 1978 for
his soaring recording of Bill Conti's composition
"Gonna Fly Now," the theme from the film "Rocky." The
song, on Ferguson's album "Conquistador," was one of
his few chart-hitting recordings. It reached No. 22
on the pop album charts in 1977.
He also made commercially appealing recordings of the
Jimmy Webb tune "MacArthur Park" and the Beatles'
His success with pop tunes was unusual for a player
who cut his teeth on the classic jazz ensemble: the
Ferguson was born May 4, 1928, in a suburb of
Montreal. A child prodigy, Ferguson was playing
violin and piano at age 4. At 13, he was soloing with
the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Orchestra. By 16, he
was playing trumpet and leading a dance band that
featured a young pianist named Oscar Peterson.
His band was often the opening act for visiting
American big bands, including those led by Count
Basie and Stan Kenton. The Americans were impressed
with Ferguson's trumpet.
"I got a lot of offers to go out on the road,"
Ferguson told The Times some years ago. "Kenton told
me I had a place as a featured trumpet player any
time I wanted it."
By 1949, Ferguson had moved across the border, but
Kenton was taking a break from touring and recording.
So Ferguson made his U.S. debut in saxophonist Boyd
Raeburn's big band. He also played in Jimmy Dorsey's
band and Charlie Barnet's band before Kenton went
back to work in 1950 with Ferguson in the trumpet
From 1950 to 1953, Ferguson was arguably the hottest
trumpeter in jazz. His screaming, high-register
trumpet was the cornerstone of Kenton's noted brass
section. His dramatic style is featured on the tune
"Maynard Ferguson," written by Ferguson, Kenton and
Shorty Rogers and featured on the now-classic album
"Stan Kenton Presents."
Ferguson was taking individual honors as well as
being named best trumpeter in Down Beat magazine's
annual poll for three consecutive years starting in
After leaving Kenton in 1953, he set out for
Hollywood and got a job with Paramount Pictures
playing on soundtracks. But he quickly found that
work unsatisfying and returned to jazz. He led the
Birdland Dreamband in New York and then formed what
would be one in a series of 13-piece touring bands
known for their biting brass sections.
His bands also would be known as great training
grounds for some noted players. Over the years, his
alumni would include saxophonist Wayne Shorter and
keyboardist Joe Zawinul, who were founding members of
Weather Report; pianist Chick Corea, trumpeter Chuck
Mangione and arrangers such as Don Sebesky and Don
By 1967, however, big bands took a sharp dip in
popularity and Ferguson disbanded his group.
His life took some sharp turns as well.
He moved his family to India on a spiritual quest and
then lived in England. He began forming bands that
used more pop-oriented material. This paved the way
for his success in the 1970s with the theme from
And though this formula proved commercially viable
over the next two decades, it often didn't play well
with critics, who faulted the lack of subtlety in his
playing and some dubious material.
Reviewing a 1979 performance at the Roxy, critic
Leonard Feather wrote that "Ferguson's audiences,
seeking the ultimate in pyrotechnical displays by a
trumpeter with chops of steel, need look no further.
On the other hand, music lovers searching for taste,
dynamic contrast and sensitivity will have to look
Critics had a generally more sympathetic view of his
later ensembles, notably the Big Bop Noveau band,
which focused on straight-ahead jazz.
The spiritual quest Ferguson started in India in the
1960s led him to move his family to Ojai, then the
base of operations for the Indian philosopher J.
Ferguson was also a noted jazz teacher at the high
school and college levels.
He is survived by his daughters Kim, Lisa, Corby and
A memorial service, to be held in St. Louis, is being
planned for mid-September. Memorial contributions may
be made to the Maynard Ferguson Scholarship Fund at
the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Copyright (c) 2006 Los Angeles Times
Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson dies at
August 24th, 2006 08:40
found mainstream success on "Gonna Fly Now" solo in
Efrem Lukatsky / AP
Updated: 8:40 p.m. ET Aug 24, 2006
Jazz star Maynard Ferguson, known for his soaring
high notes and for his hit recording of "Gonna Fly
Now," which lent the musical muscle to the "Rocky"
movies, died Wednesday night. He was 78.
Updated: 8:40 p.m. ET Aug 24, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, known
for his soaring high notes and for his recording of
"Gonna Fly Now," a hit version of the theme from the
"Rocky" movies, has died. He was 78.
View full Article
Jazz Improv Magazine
August 23rd, 2006 00:00
Maynard Ferguson - Interview
by Joe Patitucci
MF: There are changes that go on. For instance, when
we're at the Blue Note in New York, I'll have Mike
Dubanowitz, Chip McNeil, and Dennis DiBlasio in the
sax section. The trumpets are Patrick Hession,
Michael Manthey and Serafin Aguilar who's fantastic.
Steve Weist is the only trombone. My long-time rhythm
section of Jeff Lashway, piano Brian Mulholland, bass
and Stockton Helbing, drums will be there. Stockton
is also the musical director. Some have been with me
for a long time and some are coming back.
Patrick Hession - The Trumpet is a Soprano
June 9th, 2006 00:00
June 9 - 9:30 am
By Chuck Tumlinson
The clinic included several ideas for high range
playing. If you improve in the normal range, this
will also help your higher range. Also practice
pretty melodies in higher keys. Either practice up in
half steps, or take those melodies up an octave.
(Hession learned this from Maynard!).
These are just a few of the ideas that Patrick
Hession imparted to the receptive audience. He is
obviously a strong player with an easygoing, pleasant
personality. Hession is a goldmine with regard to his
perceptive insights in the lead and bravura tradition
of trumpet playing.
View full Article
Maynard Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau
May 7th, 2006 00:00
with the unusually long performance, lead trumpet
player Patrick Hession never flinched. He continued
to perform amazing feats of stratospheric trumpet
work all the way to the end of the performance. He
has a command of technique, style, range, and
endurance that the rest of us can only dream of.
View full Article
Michael L. Hession, 61
April 8th, 2006 00:00
and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
April 8, 2006
Michael L. Hession, 61
Michael Lawrence Hession, 61, of 1009 Southlea Drive,
was overjoyed to depart from this life to meet his
Maker and others on the other side at 8:35 p.m.
Thursday, April 6, 2006, at his residence, after
suffering over 10 years with cardio obstructive
Born on March 1, 1945, to Leo Lawrence and Mary
(Klinker) Hession he was the fourth of six children.
He was raised in Lafayette, educated at St. Mary's
Elementary School and Central Catholic High School,
graduating in 1963. Prior to his senior year, he
joined the Indiana Army National Guard, and served
until he underwent 6 months of basic training and
clerk school at Ft. Knox, Ky., following graduation.
He then served as battalion medical clerk, battalion
armorer and company clerk for Headquarters Company
A,113th Medical Company, 38th Infantry Division from
His first venture into the outside world was served
in the timekeeping department of Ross Gear Division
of TRW, Inc., from 1964-1966, where he left to serve
as a professional letter carrier for nearly 30 years
at the United States Postal Service. He retired on
disability in 1995.
A lifelong member of St. Mary's Cathedral Church, he
served as an altar boy there and at the Sisters
Adorers Precious Blood Monastery during his
elementary years, as well as sang in the boy's choir.
He then became the 50-year ranking member of the
Cathedral Adult Traditional Choir, giving up due to
Married on July 29, 1967, in St. Mary Cathedral
Church to Anna Maxine Yorko of Punxsutawney, Pa., she
was a ninth twin-sister of nine children. She
preceded in death, following nearly 23 years of
marriage and a 10-year battle with breast cancer at
the young age of 44, after blessing him with four
handsome and successful sons.
He served proudly as the third generation Grand
Knight of Lafayette Council #456 of the Knights of
Columbus from 1987-1988, when he was appointed
Indiana District Deputy #15 by State Deputy Bernard
Gannon. He served for over two years, relinquishing
his duties through second term due to the health of
his wife, who died in early March of 1990. He also
served as Council Envoy to Fr. Gibault School for
Boys and Girls, owned and supported by the Indiana K
of C south of Terre Haute on U.S. 43S, and was a
proud member and honor guard for the Marquis de
Lafayette Fourth Degree Assembly of the Knights of
Columbus and American Legion Post 11.
He was a member of the National Association of Letter
Carriers #466, AARP, an active member and supporter
of the 12-Step AA Program. He oversaw morning
meetings and volunteered each Tuesday at the S.U.R.F.
Center for over four years after retirement, by the
grace of God. He was also a charter member of the Old
Hickory Democratic Club and a former member of the
Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Moose Lodge.
Surviving are four sons, Patrick Edward, on tour as
lead trumpet for the legendary Maynard Ferguson and
his Big Bop Nouveau Band, Philip Michael of Elk
Grove, IL, Stephen John of Vernon Hills, IL, and
Michael Joseph of Lafayette; one brother, Patrick
Joseph (wife: Penny) of Millers Creek, N.C.; three
sisters, Mary Cecilia LaReau (Jim) of Lafayette, Jude
Ann Synesael (Jerry) of Lafayette and Eileen Joan
Hession-Weiss (Jim) of Seabring, Fla. Preceded in
death include his wife and parents, as well as a
younger brother Philip Edward, who died at 17
Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Sunday at Soller-Baker
Lafayette Chapel, 400 Twyckenham Blvd., with
scripture service at 7:30 p.m. Funeral Mass 10:30
a.m. Monday at St. Mary Cathedral, Fr. Bob Klemme
officiating. Interment St. Mary Cemetery. In lieu of
flowers, donations may be made to the St. Mary
Cathedral Restoration Project or Father Gibault
Copyright (c) Journal and Courier. All rights
reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett
Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
"MF Horn VI - Live at Ronnie's"
March 10th, 2006 00:00
FERGUSON RELEASES FIRST LIVE ALBUM IN 12 YEARS!
"MF Horn VI - Live at Ronnie's"
St. Louis, MO (March 10, 2006) - Maynard Ferguson
Music USA, Inc. announces the release of their new
live album, "MF Horn VI - Live at Ronnie's" on
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006. Recorded in the summer of
2005 at the legendary Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in
London, England, this album features exciting new
arrangements of classic jazz standards done in the
colorful Ferguson way, as well as a few
quintessential Ferguson chart toppers.
Ferguson wows Severinsen's crowd
February 27th, 2006 00:00
Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:21 pm
Post subject: Ferguson wows Severinsen's crowd
In a hastily arranged concert, Maynard Ferguson and
his Big Bop Nouveau Band performed at the the
University of Central Arkansas Toad Suck Jazz Daze
tonight in Conway, AR. The nearly sold-out audience
had originally purchased tickets to hear Doc
Severinsen and his Big Band but, because of
logistical issues, Severinsen's concert was
Dr. Larry Jones, Professor of Trumpet and Director of
the Jazz Band, was able to get the Ferguson band
between gigs in Dallas and Memphis. Ticket holders to
Severinsen's concert were given the option to return
their tickets, trade them for the Ferguson concert,
or donate them to the university.
The seventy-five minute concert (no breaks) opened
with piano, bass, drums, and trombone playing pieces
from the 'bone's and drummer's recently released
albums. Then the rest of the band (three trumpets,
two saxes) joined the group and presented "The
Legendary MAYNARD FERGUSON!"
I am ashamed not to have written down the names of
the tunes they played, but the opening number was a
huge blues piece. Although I've seen many groups in
my time, I had forgotten just how tight a group can
play. The Big Bop Nouveau Band is amoung the
tightest. In the blues piece, the group sounded as if
it were being played by a keyboardist, so precice the
attacks and releases.
Other pieces included Dr. (something), Ph.D., I Love
You, Birdland, and a medley of pieces paying tribute
to Maynard's chart-topping hits.
The Big Bop Nouveau Band features:
Julio Monterray, Alto Sax (little guy, huge
Matt Parker, Tenor Sax (huge guy, huger player)
Patrick Hession, Lead Trumpet (oh, my God)
Ken Robinson, Trumpet (piccolo master!)
Peter Ferguson, Trumpet (backed up Hession on
Reggie Watkins, Trombone
Jeff Lashway, Piano (pure, elegant taste)
Brian Mulhollard, Bass (what a sound)
Stockton Helbing, Drums (the next Peter Erskin?)
Mike Freeland is the sound man and Ed Sargent is the
Ferguson, in his seventies, knows how to put on a
show. Still a pretty good jazzer, he also still has
his range, albeit with less power and authority of
his younger years. I was more amazed with his
breathing technique - his portly belly being thrown
up and down as he shortened his windpipe for the
Ferguson's mastery of breathing supports the finest
example of the Roy Stephen's embochure ever known.
The Stephen's method is exemplified with a fat, ugly
tone in the lower (below low C) register and a funky
sound in the middle register. But, when used as
expertly as Ferguson in the upper register, it really
For the record, Ferguson will deny using Stephen's
method, but the fact is that he studied with Roy
Stephens several years ago.
The Stephen's method is best characterized as blowing
upstream, or toward the tip of one's nose. It
requires a strong, steady jaw and a fast air stream.
Ferguson's gift is that he seamlessly couples yoga
breathing skills with the Stephen's method.
Lead trumpeter Patrick Hession also uses yoga
breathing techniques, but one could not see it during
his brief appearances at the solo mike. Not a
practitioner of the Stephen's method, Hession's sound
is considerably darker in the upper register than
Ferguson's. Hession told me after the show that he
uses his Ferguson equipment and set-up for classical
gigs because he can play with full, rich overtones
over the whole spectrum.
Although I didn't see it, Hession described his
custom Monette mouthpiece as being a deep-V double
cup (way deeper than a Parduba, he said). This,
alone, would explain his dark tone, but then he said
he gets an equally dark tone on a 6A4a. He ascribes
it simply as 'his sound'.
He has all of Ferguson's range and more, but it
doesn't seem to come as effortlessly as does
Ferguson's. Nevertheless, he's one huge player. His
playing resume is equally impressive.
The alto sax player, Julio Monterray, plays with the
distinct, haunting sound of a well-played soprano sax
(Kenny G. is NOT an example this sound). Small in
stature, Julio is a giant player. He doesn't move
much when playing, except he'll lift is left shoulder
ever so slightly during some of the more difficult
lines. But don't let that lure you into thinking he
must not be playing. Geez, what a great jazzer, for a
Bassist Mulholland plays with a clear Pastorius
influence, dexterity, and imagination. He had three
solo breaks - and stunned us (and the band on one of
them) with his talent. He's no show off, but talent
like that speaks for itself.
Finally, the drummer is a fresh-out-of-college
prodigy. His youthful enthusiasm is engaging, but he
plays with the maturity of a well-seasoned pro. I've
not heard playing like that at that age since having
heard Peter Erskin when he was with the Kenton band
at age 18. During his solo break, the entire band,
Ferguson included, left the stage for the 10 minute
solo. He is very imaginative, despite being a
Tenor sax Matt Parker "... carries a pallet of both
bold and delicate tones ...". He also was having the
time of his life trading fours with Ferguson.
The Severinsen audience yielded only polite applause
at the beginning of the concert. But by the end,
Ferguson had won them over with gusto and
Maynard Ferguson - Live at Santa Fe Station, Las
Vegas, NV - October 9, 2005
February 20th, 2006 00:00
video from Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau has
been added to the video page. This footage is from
October 9, 2005 at Santa Fe Station in Las Vegas.
There are two versions of each video clip available
for download (Windows Media format and iPod-ready
Click here to see the video!
Voice of Raisin - Concert Review: Maynard Ferguson
and His Big Bop Nouveau Band
February 7th, 2006 16:27
February 7, 2006
Concert Review: Maynard Ferguson and His Big Bop
Filed under: Music - Willy @ 4:27 pm
February 6, 2006 - Bingham High Auditorium
Wow. Maynard and his band know how to put on a show!
Ferguson's playing is still very strong. High notes
that defy belief, and a tremulant, floating style
that is urgent, but un-hurried. Maynard seems to have
assembled a top-flight group to accompany him.
Trumpets - Patrick Hession, Jamie Hovorka and Peter
Ferguson (Maynard's Nephew). Good, solid trumpet
section to back up the master. Hession shined on a
medley of Maynard Ferguson favorites. He was
trumpetting some truly stratospheric pitches. Saxes -
Julio Monterray (alto) and Matt Parker (tenor),
Trombonist Reggie Watkins seemed very comfortable in
the second-in-command spot, directing traffic on the
band stand. Watkins' playing left very little to be
desired. Pianist Jeff Lashway played brilliantly on a
couple of nice ballands. The bassist, Brian
Mulholland, played some virtuosic solos. I love it
when a good bass player is really wailing in their
upper register, and you realize they're still
walking, too. To me, the highlight of the evening was
the extended, snares-off drum solo by Stockton
Helbing. Helbing is a graduate of the University of
North Texas, where he studied drums with Ed Soph. The
band played a blistering and inventive arrangment of
"Girl From Ipanema" and when the drum solo started,
the rest of the group vacated the stage. Helbing
proceeded to take the audience on a comprehensive
tour of the drumset. I was blown away by his control
of dynamics, and the different colors he was able to
pull out of his kit were absolutely stunning. The
solo lasted between 5 and 10 minutes, and I didn't
breath the whole time. Blazing single stroke
technique, coupled with a flowing melodic style.
Also worth noting is the lighting. Now, I'm not too
into the commercialization of our dear art form, and
if you'd told me there was to be a light show, I
would have scoffed. Well, I'm re-assesing that this
morning. From subtle red-hues for the band while
Maynard wailed in a single pin-spot to precisely
timed lighting to accompany kicks from the horn
section, the lights for the show were complex but
never distracting. In fact, they served to focus the
audience's attention on the soloist or to enhance
sudden mood changes in the score. Amazing.
The outstanding technical and artistic mastery of the
musicians, coupled with the sensitively applied
lighting combined to make this one of the most
entertaining performances of Jazz I have ever seen.
Kudos to Maynard and the Band.
Christmas and Hanukkah and Skynyrd, oh
January 21st, 2006 00:00
holiday season was as busy as ever for Patrick in
2005. Since Christmas and Hanukkah fell on December
25th this year, Patrick not only played three
Catholic Masses but he then played a four hour
rehearsal followed by a three hour and fifteen minute
Hanukkah show that very evening. On December 30th,
Patrick had the honor of playing with Rock Legends
Lynyrd Skynyrd, 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Lynyrd Skynyrd Official Website