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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maynard,s best album in many years!!!
With "Brass Attitude", Maynard has perfected the "little big band", his preferred format for the last several years. Exciting, richly textured arrangements performed by Ferguson's exceptionally talented young musicians make this Farguson's' best peformance since 1970's "MF Horn". Maynard makes greater use of his lyrical skills on...
Published on March 18, 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy, but not one of Maynard's best albums
All of the previous reviews of this album date from around 1999 to 2000, around the time of its release. Naturally, they pick up the excitement of Maynard fans about the release. So I thought I would do a retrospective review.

It's not a bad album, and one of the nice things about it is that it features the members of Maynard's Big Bop Nouveau stretching in...
Published on July 24, 2010 by GenesiusRedux


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maynard,s best album in many years!!!, March 18, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
With "Brass Attitude", Maynard has perfected the "little big band", his preferred format for the last several years. Exciting, richly textured arrangements performed by Ferguson's exceptionally talented young musicians make this Farguson's' best peformance since 1970's "MF Horn". Maynard makes greater use of his lyrical skills on fluegelhorn here, especially on the haunting "Caruso", and tracks include everything from a jazz waltz ("Waltz for Nicole"), to a bluesy feauture for the wonderful scat singer and baritone saxophonist Denis Diblasio ("The Lip"). For long time Maynard fans, there are plenty of high notes; for potential new fans, though, this is an album with a nice balance of swingers and slower, romantic pieces. Worth a listen, then, for anyone who's either loved MF for years, or is curious about large group jazz.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable, but Different, Maynard!, December 24, 2000
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
First of all, I like this CD. The music has a smooth and sophisticated feel, and the solo's are at times amazing. Maynard has always had the ability to surround himself with wonderfully talented musicians. This CD, however, is a diferent direction for Maynard. Played in a more traditional jazz style, the songs here show a side of Marnard Ferguson that you rarely get to hear.
Through most of his career, Maynard has depended a powerful brass/big band sound to drive the music. His interpretations of songs usually had a strong melodic base, and then would allow the soloists to take off based on the melody. This CD is almost the opposite. The solos's drive the music, and the result is wonderful. A mix of old and new music, the music depends less on Maynard and more on the band. My favorite pieces are "Just Friends" and "Caruso". "The Lip" is an interesting song with vocals by ex-Band member Denis Diblasio.
Again, overall I enjoyed this CD. If I would compare his most recent work I would say this is my second favorite behind "These Cats can Swing", a more traditional Maynard Ferguson CD. I would recommend this not only to any Maynard fan, but to any traditional jazz fan as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's brass, it's got an attitude, and it's MAYNARD!!!!!!, September 24, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
I have been looking for this record of Maynard for quite some time. When I found it, I could have jumped through the ceiling of the music store.
This has a lot of Maynard's old tricks. Denis sings the "The Lip", which is a clever song about MF. Knee deep in rio is very purky, and waltz for nicole is a very cool balad.
If you don't have this, and you are a die-hard MF fan, it's a MUST BUY!!!! (Denis DiBlasio scats!!!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Swing, Slow Balads-This Album Has It All., November 19, 2000
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
From track one, this CD is made to impress. Whether you are a Beginner in the world of Maynard, or a seasoned listener, this album is great. Tom Garling is marvelous. His solos in the first three tracks can be described in one word: awesome. A vocal appearance by saxaphonist Denis Deblasio on a later track(The Lip) is another highlight. I, personally, have played through many Deblasio charts, and is nice to finally hear him off of his horn. Maynard's band will blow you away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maynard like Fine Wine!, December 7, 1999
By 
G. Sargent "gsargent" (Oklahoma City, OK USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
I have seen Maynard several times in person and have some of his recordings. For fans of jazz, Maynard is a must. He may be getting old in years, but he is definitely young in his playing abilities. He has not lost his touch as other perfomers do as they age. He's like fine wine. He just gets better! Brass Attitude is one of his best, and it demonstrates that he is still having fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maynard still screams, but more tastefully than ever, November 15, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
Even at age 70, Maynard Ferguson still achieves a richness of sound in the upper register that even the best trumpeters can only hope to achieve. Long known for assembling groups of extremely talented young musicians and nurturing them into his precise but fun-loving style, Maynard's latest CD is no exception. What has changed in the last several years (since joining Concord Records) is that his musical selections have become so much more - dare I say - tasteful! And it is the arrangements that truly stand out on this CD. The harmonies and wind doublings used by arrangers Tom Garling, Ron Oswanski, Steve Wiest, and Christian Jocob yield a nuanced texture that remind me of the New York big bands of Thad Jones and (more recently) Bob Mintzer. Considering that Maynard's "little big band" has fewer than half the horns of those other bands, this an outstanding accomplishment! I've collected big band albums for 25 years, and this is one of the best I've heard - by Maynard or anyone else - and I recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy, but not one of Maynard's best albums, July 24, 2010
By 
GenesiusRedux "GR" (Chillin' at my place....) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
All of the previous reviews of this album date from around 1999 to 2000, around the time of its release. Naturally, they pick up the excitement of Maynard fans about the release. So I thought I would do a retrospective review.

It's not a bad album, and one of the nice things about it is that it features the members of Maynard's Big Bop Nouveau stretching in different directions, along with arrangers Tom Garling and Ron Oswanski experimenting with the the band's "typical" form. Sometimes this works nicely, and sometimes you have musical oddities which seem like experiments done for their own sake.

Take the opening "Just Friends," arranged by trombonist Tom Garling. At the top of the chart, Garling doesn't seem to know quite how he wants to open this very familiar standard. He tries two different ways to establish a "big band" tension, then seems to give up as he throws the head to the reeds while the bass and piano vacillate between a clumsy Latin-inspired line and incongruous Monk-style obbligato underneath the melody. When Maynard comes in and takes over the melody, the band finds its groove and the rest of the chart cooks, especially as Garling and Carl Fisher trade licks on the superbone, building to climactic introduction to Maynard's trumpet solo. That in turn leads surprisingly to a fugue-like interlude which is very nicely done. When the band returns together, they take it easy, in a Basie-like understated shout that builds tension once more. Then the arrangement ends in an unexpectedly subtle way.

That pattern, established by Garling's arrangement, pretty much defines the whole album. The band at times kicks into high gear, and their typical ability to sound like a much large band (reminiscent of Maynard's bands in the late 1950s), and at times embraces a smaller sound, sometimes follows out the patterns one has come to expect from Maynard, sometimes becomes quieter and even slightly abstract.

The second tune, "Waltz for Nicole," was written by Garling. It is a genial and swinging jazz waltz that features the arranger on trombone, with a very interesting piano solo by Ron Oswanski, and Maynard playing flugelhorn and sticking to the middle register on the trumpet solos (by which I really mean Maynard's middle register, which is the upper register for most trumpet players). There is another attempt at a subtle ending, this one not quite so successful as the first number.

The next piece, an arrangement of the Cole Porter standard "I Love You" by Maynard alumnus Steve Wiest, is much more successful. Wiest sets the tune to a Brazilian-inspired rhythm, leading to a nice solo by Garling on trombone, a largely unison shout chorus featuring David Throckmorton's drums. In the middle of it, the drums drop out, and the band continues with its shout without rhythm accompaniment, and quite remarkably tight. That chorus leads to another fugue-like interlude, but then quickly builds to a big finish featuring Maynard and Carl Fisher trading off trumpet shrieks to the final note.

"Milk of the Moon," written by pianist Ron Oswanski, is a showcase for Maynard's flugelhorn and a nice tenor solo by Sal Giorgianni. In the liner notes, Maynard says the tune is at times reminiscent of Gil Evans. At the risk of alienating all of Maynard's very devout fans, I have to say that the VOICINGS rather than the tune are reminiscent of Gil Evans. For the most part it rambles around without any particular direction or purpose. Oswanski uses the band like he's playing on his synthesizer, to explore harmonics and voice without much hint at melody. At more than seven and a half minutes, the song is a good four minutes too long--and what Maynard does not say, but what anyone with even a modest sense of jazz history will know, Gil Evans could make a statement in less than three minutes and still have room for soloists.

The next tune, "Misra-Dhenuka," allows Maynard to continue to explore his longtime fascination with India. It is based, he tells us, on a "raga" he learned in India. The raga, since the liner notes do not explain, is a modal approach to music that has a very long history. In the more fluid Indian tradition, there are 22 intervals (or shrutis) in an octave, rather than the 12 in the enharmonic Western tradition. Thus what for us would be enharmonic equivalents, like D# and Eb, are distinct tones to the Indian ear. In support of the Indian system, Maynard begins with a vocal rendition of the raga, picked up by the trombone, and pursued later by Maynard on the Firebird (his combination slide and valve trumpet).

The idea is cool, but I must confess that with my western ear (trombonist though I am), I can't distinguish flat tones from sharp tones. Still, the number, arranged by Maynard along with Ron Oswanski) is a good one. The opening sequence follows the Indian alpana tradition (which is sort of like an extended Western rubato), and then goes into 6/8 time. The problem is that the piece remains deeply embedded in its Indian roots, without ever making the shift into a more Spanish rhythm which the music itself keeps pushing to. Garling's trombone solo begins to establish a groove, but then the music slides back into its confined space. Oswanski also tries valiantly to kick the music into groove into his piano solo. There is a slow build to a full shout chorus, but the band seems never to break out. And the truth is, for all of its theoretical fluidity, the Indian musical tradition doesn't have anywhere near the freedom of jazz.

Following the solos, there are several more attempts to get east to meet west in a musical collaboration. But aside from isolated moments of excitement, the pairing never quite works. At nearly 16 minutes, the number is obviously meant to be a showpiece. But one is reminded of those moments in E.M. Foster's "Passage to India" where the befuddled Westerners try without success to discover profundity in the strange comments and behavior of the Brahman Dr. Godbole (his name sounds a bit like Odd Ball, and that was, I believe Forster's intention). In the final analysis this is one of those interesting experiments that never quite works. But it could be worse. It could be "free jazz."

"Knee Deep in Rio" is an easy samba by Garling, meant primarily to showcase the band's soloists. It begins with trombone and bass laying out the rhythm, then briefly into the head played by Mayanard on flugelhorn. After that it opens immediately into the capable solos, from Sal Giorgianni's tenor solo, to Paul Thompson's electric bass, Carl Fisher's nice trumpet work, David Throckmorton's consistently excellent drumming, and finally back to Maynard and out. If it's not very exciting, at least it's danceable.

"Erica and Sandra" is Maynard's paean to his grandchildren. It features Maynard on trumpet flugelhorn and Giorgianni on tenor ("played," we are told, "as a conversation between Erica and Sandra"). It's such a sweet idea, one almost can't be critical. But the truth is, the arrangement doesn't really hold together. In the middle of the song, we move into a nice Basie-Nestico style moment, but it's all too brief, and the listener is left wishing the conversation had been a little more animated.

"The Lip" is an arrangement by Maynard alumnus Denis DiBlasio. I'm sorry to say that nobody who has heard Louis Prima do this piece with Keely Smith will be a fan of this arrangement. DiBlasio's scatting is capable, but technical and without any real emotional content--you wind up longing for Prima or Satchmo. And once you begin to think that way, Big Bop Nouveau is, I'm afraid, quite lost. Because the song makes you think how much more brilliant and funny and hot that old Prima band was than these kids.

The final number, "Caruso," is an homage to the great tenor. It's really more of a sweet piece that ends the album on an unexpectedly quiet note and again, kind of makes this listener a little nostalgic for the days when Maynard would blow out his screams to "Vesti la giubba" from "Pagliacci" with a disco beat. It's nice to hear Maynard in a quiet mood, of course. But with nothing more here than flugelhorn and piano, you wind up thinking how much prettier Miles could play.

I love Maynard, have been a fan since I first heard him in the 1970s, have enjoyed him live a number of times, and I will always give his band a listen since they are always entertaining and are always comprised of strong soloists. But this is not the best work I've heard Maynard do.

The best album Maynard ever put out, by FAR, is "Chameleon." Those who are new to Maynard need to pick up that one. Then, the "Live at Jimmy's" album. After that, you can branch out a bit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, March 8, 2005
By 
Jonathan L (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
Maynard Ferguson is still great, I've seen him twice recently. I'd have to say this is a great album of his, perhaps better than his live stuff. (I know I'll be rammed for that one) I don't know this is more jazz to me than his other stuff, Just Friends is a classic tune that he nails, its great. The Lip on the other hand is a scatting tune performed by Denis Diblasio, he does a great job. Overall I'd have to say this is a very upbeat cd. This is probably my best big-band cd with good sound quality. I'd recommend it!

P.S Please Check Out My Other Reviews!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More melodic, but still Maynard, November 6, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
This album strays slightly from the last 3 or 4 albums, as it is a melodic voyage. His last few were burners, but make no mistake , THIS IS STILL MAYNARD. It is a beautiful work. Tom Garland is here and writes a few, as is Matt Wallace and the vocal return of Denis Diblasio is welcomed ( but not required ). It is a must own for Ferguson fans, but don't expect the stratospheric steady attack, rather, sit back and relax throough the voyage. I personally hope Maynard heads back to the "barn burners" days of "Foot Path".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This album is absolutely first class!, August 31, 1999
This review is from: Brass Attitude (Audio CD)
I cannot get enough of this album - it is the greatest! I went to see Maynard (w/ Big Bop Nouveau) at Ronnie Scott's, London in November of '99 and they were so good I went back for more! Sometimes when you buy an album of a band you see live it can be a disappointment - NOT THIS ONE! It's just as good, if not better. These guys are the greatest. They totally gel as a group, the rhythm section are excellent, and check out Dave Throckmorton's drumming - there's no stopping him! Brass Attitude is definitely worth the money.
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Brass Attitude
Brass Attitude by Maynard Ferguson (Audio CD - 1998)
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