Maynard Ferguson

Stratospheric

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This two-LP set from 1976 gives listeners a good overview of trumpeter Maynard Ferguson's four Mercury albums of 1954-56. M.F. is heard in several different settings ranging from octets to a big band with arrangements by Bill Holman and Willie Maiden; among the many other soloists are altoists Bud Shank and Herb Geller, baritonist Bob Gordon, trombonists Herbie Harper and Milt Bernhart, and tenors Bob Cooper and Georgie Auld. Although it would be preferable to get all of the performances from the four albums since those remain out-of-print, this two-fer is worth searching for in the meantime. This is excellent bop-based music with highlights including "The Way You Look Tonight," Ferguson's feature on "Over the Rainbow" and a variety of strong Holman originals.