Maynard Ferguson / Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau

These Cats Can Swing!

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This is a fairly typical but enjoyable Maynard Ferguson jazz date. His ten-piece Big Bop Nouveau band consists of four trumpets, one trombone, two reeds, and a three-piece rhythm section, so it is quite brass-heavy. Although each of his trumpeters can pop out high notes, Ferguson is still the main screecher, sharing the solo space with pianist Ron Oswanski, altoist Matt Wallace, tenor saxophonist Chip McNeill, and trombonist Tom Garling. The repertoire includes a few swinging pieces, the novelty Ferguson vocal "He Can't Swing," Wallace singing on the R&B-ish "I Don't Want to Be a Hoochi Coochie Man No Mo'," the exotic "Sweet Baba Suite" (which reflects Ferguson's interest in Indian music), and the lengthy "It's the Gospel Truth." All in all, this is a well-rounded set showing that Maynard Ferguson was still a strong force to contend with in the mid-'90s.

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