The Loss of the Boss

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Manny Laureano, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    I was on tour when Trumpetmike and others that were along told me that there was a rumor that Maynard Ferguson had died.

    It's odd, the things that flash with immediacy in ones mind when you hear something like that. My mind's eye saw the album cover to my favorite Maynard album, MF Horn 4 & 5-Live at Jimmy's. I then saw him in my head as I last saw him, heavy but with that perpetual smile that spoke of a life led as positively as posible.

    The life of a jazz musician is among the toughest available. Late nights, long practice sessions learning scales, arpeggios, patterns that are endless, gigs that may pay next to nothing in order to play with a big name for the experience... Maynard paid his dues doing all those things and managed to build a tireless high register that became legendary not only to would-be big band lead players but to classical players as well.

    Those of us that listened to Maynard in his prime during the late 60's and 70's loved to hear him wail because it was just so damned inspiring. It seemed so easy for him! I remember playing the Rite of Sring and for the way I envisioned the playing of certain sections of the D part no classical player I knew then would do. Only Maynard's energy fit my mental bill. It's still the same today after all these years.

    Still, it never ceased to amaze me to read the constant dribble of put downs leveled at his way of making music. He was not your soft spoken, sunglass wearing, speaking in tongues jazz musician. As a result, there came a point where he was not taken seriously anymore as a strictly jazz performer. How do you take someone like Maynard and put him into a tiny box like that and expect him to fit in? You got me. His skill at improvisation was without question as I got to hear the many earlier recordings on Roulette and such where he played beautiful, coherent lines. He covered the ENTIRE range of the horn in those days, including the lower register. The guy paind his improv dues and seemed to enjoy having fun entertaining folks. I think he earned that right.

    I always admired his taking talented younger musicians and exposing them at each show, allowing them to pay the same dues he did when he was a fledgling lead player.

    He fed us a constant diet of the tune we all looked forward to hearing at every concert he played : Blue Birdland. Would that I could have a walk on tune every time I played with the Mnnesota Orchestra! How cool would that be? I never, ever grew tired of Dot, Dah, Daaah, Daaht-bu Daah, Dot, Dah, Daaah, uh-Zat-a-bu Daaah... Thank you, Maynard, thank you, thank you.

    I wonder if Maynard knew how many times I'd grab a lead mouthpiece and play along with him and his band on my days off. I'd always have to make sure there was nobody home because of how loud I'd crank the Hi-fi.

    He was very kind the last time I saw him in Minnesota. He played at Wayzata High School and received my son and me after the show, thanks to Dave Monette and Patrick Hession. We talked a while and my boy was thrilled. He signed a program that read "To my next pianist, Max! Best wishes, Maynard Ferguson."

    I will miss him. That smile was infectious as was his way of being around others. If there's one thing Maynard left behind that transcended his trumpet it was the optimism, the positive streak that mattered to me the most. Great artists give great gifts. Each listener decides which gift will be his.

    Thanks for your generosity, Maynard.

  2. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Just when I thought I was out of tears.........

    Thanks, Manny, for that wonderful tribute to one of the finest musicians this world will ever know.

  3. bas

    bas Pianissimo User

    Jun 2, 2005
    Iowa City, IA/Corfu, GR

    Beautifully written! You related your thoughts on the Boss with the same heart and soul that I hear in your playing. Thank you for that...

  4. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Manny, very nice.

    As to your above statement...I got my chops playing with Maynard on the stereo. No one home, and I'd would crank it up.

    I must have played Frame For The Blues, and Maria a thousand times.

    Thanks for the memories of MF.

  5. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    Nice post Manny

    How I wish I had been wrong
  6. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Well done Manny...

    Well done.

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