Maynard Ferguson

Wow! The Formative Years

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Long before the wah-wah guitars, the polyester body suits, and "Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)," trumpeter Maynard Ferguson was a stellar high-note technician with deft bop improvisational chops. In other words, a big-band-era rock star or bop star, if you will. Wow! The Formative Years collects various tracks the trumpeter recorded with a handful of ensembles from the late '40s to the late '50s. This was the young Ferguson's prime developmental period, when he made his name playing both lead and solo horn for a who's-who cast of bandleaders including Stan Kenton, Charlie Barnet, and Ben Webster -- all featured here. Also showcased are Ferguson's own cuts as leader with his orchestra and octet. These are high-energy, swinging, and bebop-centric recordings that find Ferguson heavily influenced by his legendary contemporary Dizzy Gillespie. As a single-disc anthology, Wow! is a perfect introduction to one of the most celebrated -- and yet often taken for granted -- jazz talents of the 20th century.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 5:34
2
4:42
3 3:10
4 4:19
5 2:55
6 2:38
7 3:00
8
2:12
9 2:22
10 3:11
11
3:16
12 2:08
13 2:58
14 2:56
15 3:09
16 2:35
17 3:32
18 4:02
19 3:16
20 2:51
21 3:09
22 3:03
23 4:25
24 2:55
blue highlight denotes track pick