FERGUSON (1928 - 2006)
Walter "Maynard" Ferguson, one of the most influential
musicians and band leaders in the history of Jazz, passed away August
23rd at 8:00 pm Pacific Time at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura,
California. He was 78 years old. His death was the result of kidney
and liver failure brought on by an abdominal infection. Mr. Ferguson's
four daughters, Kim, Lisa, Corby, Wilder and other family members
were at his side when he passed away after this brief illness. He
spoke by phone with his friend and manager Steve Schankman from
St. Louis, longtime tour manager Ed Sargent, and friend, and fellow
trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.
Mr. Ferguson had recently returned home to California from New
York after several sold out performances in July at the famed Blue
Note Club. During this time, Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau band
also recorded a new album at Bennett Studios in Englewood, New Jersey.
Maynard Ferguson, born May 4th 1928 in Montreal, started his career
at the age of 13 when he performed as a featured soloist with the
Canadian Broadcasting Company Orchestra. He played with some of
the great Big Band Leaders of the 1940s including Count Basie, Duke
Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Barnett, Jimmy Dorsey and Stan
Kenton. In 1945, at age 17, Ferguson became the leader of his own
Big Band. The 78-year old musical phenomenon went on to record more
than 60 albums, receiving numerous honors and awards including the
Grammy nomination for "Gonna Fly Now". In 2005, Ferguson
was awarded Canada's highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada,
from the Right Honorable Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. In
addition to those accolades, Ferguson has been the recipient of
DownBeat Magazine's prestigious DownBeat Award.
"The Boss", as Ferguson is known, has been performing
for packed houses for decades. His recent DVD release, "Live
At The Top", captures one of his most memorable performances,
a concert held at the Plaza Hotel in Rochester New York in 1975,
with Ferguson performing alongside fellow music pioneers Stan Mark,
Ernie Garside and Bruce Johnston. Most recently, Ferguson and Big
Bop Nouveau Band had been touring the United States. He was preparing
for a fall tour beginning mid-September in Tokyo, Japan. He had
also been invited to play for the King of Thailand's 80th birthday
Mr. Ferguson was cremated in his hometown of Ojai, California.
The Ferguson family are planning a memorial concert to take place
in St. Louis, which will feature many of the band's alumni and friends
who he performed with during his more than 60-year musical career.
His latest, and last, recording will be released later this year.
released by Maynard Ferguson's management)