Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maynard Ferguson - Master of the Stratosphere (1997)


A budget compilation from the trumpeter best known for his high range.  I'm not sure if it is still true today, but 20-30 years ago, Ferguson was a favorite of high school trumpet players everywhere as they could only dream of having that sort of range and power (me included).  This album is much stronger than the 1980 compilation The Best Of Maynard Ferguson, so pick this one up should you have the urge for screeching '70s big band music.  The only problem with budget compilations is the lack of liner notes, so I don't have any idea who is playing on these tracks. These tracks were originally released in the years 1970-1977 on the albums MF Horn 1 & 2, Chameleon, Primal Scream, and Conquistador.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart:  Did not chart

Tracks:  Of the 10 tracks, there are only 3 duplicates from The Best Of Maynard Ferguson: Gonna Fly Now (Theme From "Rocky"), Macarthur Park, and Pagliacci.  2 of those 3 are good and probably the highlights of that first compilation.  The exception is the disco version of a famous aria from the opera Pagliacci.Now that I hear this version of Macarthur Park, I have to admit that it is a different recording than on the other disc.  This one is from MF Horn 1 while the other is a live version from MF Horn 4 & 5 (Live at Jimmy's).  I like most of the other 7 tracks, particularly the cover of Blood Sweat & Tears' Spinning Wheel, Gospel John, La Fiesta, and the cover of Herbie Hancock's Chameleon.  I had high hopes for a high energy version of Isaac Hayes' Theme From "Shaft," but this arrangement falls short.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  This CD was purchased in the early 2000's to keep me company during my 25 minute commute to work through the rice fields of Matagorda County.

Back in the early '80s, I borrowed my girlfriend's copy of the Chameleon LP and didn't give it back until we split.  Three of the best tracks on this compilation are taken from that album:  Gospel John, La Fiesta, and the cover of Herbie Hancock's Chameleon.  We talked the high school jazz band director into playing a cheesy arrangement of Gospel John and performed it at a ridiculously slow tempo.  I think I have a recording of that group around here somewhere. If I find it I should have it converted to some digital files.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Hollywood (1982) 
The Best Of Maynard Ferguson (1980)

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