Maynard Ferguson

Newport Suite

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Maynard Ferguson's bands of the early '60s produced many memorable albums, including this studio effort. Sax player and bandmember Willie Maiden contributed two originals. "The Jazz Bary" is a fun feature for baritone saxophonist Frank Hittner and Ferguson (who plays the rarely heard baritone horn), in which they play in unison, in thirds, and trade solos. "Three More Foxes" features trumpeters Dick Hiefer and Don Ellis and the leader, each taking turns soloing. This upbeat blues showcases great comping by pianist Jaki Byard as well. Liner note writer George T. Simon slips in a hilarious pun about Maiden's chart of "Ol' Man River," which "starts flowing with a mad Maiden form." The remaining charts were contributed by Slide Hampton (though he isn't present on the recording itself). "Foxy" is a bluesy feature for young tenor saxophonist Joe Farrell and the leader. "Newport," which was premiered at the 1959 festival there, is an elaborate suite with many flavors: a funeral-like dirge, a powerful uptempo blues that suggests the influence of Duke Ellington's "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'" in spots, and delicious call and response between the brass and reed sections. And he brings out his gospel roots in his scoring of the spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," the album's only relatively low-key number. Long out of print (though it was available as part of Mosaic's limited-edition CD box set of Maynard Ferguson's Roulette recordings), this is one of the trumpeter's very best LPs.

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