Throughout a long career trumpet virtuoso Maynard Ferguson fronted a number of very fine big bands and none better perhaps than the one heard on his 1958 Message From Newport album. It featured Bill Chase, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Ford and Carmen Leggio among others performing charts by Don Sebesky and Bob Freedman (Roulette 93272-2CD).
Although there is nothing of that calibre here, Sleepy Night Records are to be congratulated on finding yet more new material from Ernie Garside’s collection of tapes mostly recorded when he was not only Ferguson’s manager but also a member of his trumpet section. This CD is a companion to Sleepy Time’s trilogy of Lost Tapes albums – SNR00CD 1, 2 & 4. However information that is essential to collectors is lacking in the brief sleeve-note because there are no personnel details, recording locations or composer credits.
Eubie Blake’s Memories Of You (incorrectly titled Memory Of You on the sleeve) was recorded in 1944 when Ferguson was a precociously talented 15-year-old. It’s a bravura performance almost worthy of a Harry James and predates what was thought to be his first recorded solo, Rhapsody In Blue with Jimmy Dorsey in 1949. What’s New and Hey There are high-note vehicles for his familiar excursions into the ledger-lines way above the stave.
Things settle down with Sound Of The Trumpet which is a relaxed blues featuring (I think) Alan Skidmore on tenor and Bruce Johnstone on baritone. Give It One features the mightily impressive Andy Macintosh on alto who was an old-boy from my school. Left Bank Express has Andy again, this time on soprano along with (another guess!) Ferdinand Povel on flute. The very fine drummer on these three titles is Randy Jones who went on to play with Dave Brubeck for years.
Memories Of You; What’s New; Hey There; Sound Of The Trumpet; Give It One; Left Bank Express; The Conquistadors; Over The Rainbow; Maria; You Got It (64.45)
Ferguson (t) with various ensembles. Unknown locations, 1944, 1954, 1961, 1967, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 2004.
Sleepy Night Records SNRCD025