Trail - 95.7FM
Castlegar - 90.3FM
Grand Forks - 103.3FM
Creston - AM 1340
Nelson - 106.9FM
Crawford Bay - 101FM
New Denver - 93.5FM
Kaslo - 95.3FM
Nakusp - 103.1FM

May 22, 2007
Jazz, Jazz-Pop, Crossover Jazz, Trumpet Jazz, Jazz Instrument, Hard Bop

Album Review

While this two-CD set does cover a lot of the material Maynard Ferguson recorded between the mid-'50s and late '90s, it suffers from a chronological imbalance that keeps it from living up to its title as the "essential" distillation of his work. It's heavily tilted toward his Columbia output, which is understandable given that Columbia/Legacy is the label that put out this compilation. But that means that his recordings from Roulette between the late '50s and mid-'60s -- a period in which he's usually regarded as having done some of his finest straight jazz music -- is underrepresented, with just three tracks coming from his time there. There aren't any recordings at all, in fact, from the years 1963-1969, and the anthology makes you feel as though you're listening to two different artists: one a credible straight-ahead jazz trumpeter, the other a highly skilled one who embraced the most commercial side of jazz-pop. So listening to the collection, you can hear why he's both respected (for his trumpet playing, especially in the upper register) and reviled (for his rock-funk-pop-disco-oriented arrangements, especially in the mid- to late '70s) by jazz fans in almost equal measure. Listeners who are more pop fans than jazz fans, however, will be pleased that his '70s material comprises about half this set, including, yes, his 1977 Top 30 pop hit "Gonna Fly Now," famous from its use in the Rocky film. His more conventional jazz talents, it should be stated, are acknowledged on the early material that occupies much of the first disc. Overall, however, it's one of those uncomfortable mixes in which admirers of one portion of the compilation might have little enthusiasm for the other.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. The Way You Look Tonight
  2. 20, Rue de Madrid
  3. Never You Mind
  4. Over the Rainbow
  5. The Wailing Boat
  6. Somebody Wants Me Down There
  7. Blue Birdland
  8. Straight Up
  9. Free Lee
  10. Everybody Moan
  11. Tag Team
  12. Newport
  13. Maria
  14. Macarthur Park
  15. Ballad to Max
  16. Give It One
  17. 'Round Midnight
  18. The Fox Hunt [Live]
  19. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You [Live]
  20. Two for Otis [Live]
  21. Superbone Meets the Bad Man
  22. Chameleon
  23. The Cheshire Cat Walk
  24. Gonna Fly Now
  25. Everybody Loves the Blues
  26. An Offering of Love, Pt. 1
  27. Birdland
  28. Caravan
  29. Waltz for Nicole
  30. Manteca
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