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VINE VOICEon November 3, 2007
I have been a Maynard fan since the early 70's when I was blessed to see him in concert at Disneyland over a Memorial Day weekend Jazz Festival called "All That Jazz." I had actually gone to see Freddie Hubbard but he and Maynard alternated sets on the same stage and I was just blown away by the sheer force of his band. Over the years I collected many records ranging from his earlier 1961 effort Maynard '61 all the way to his 1998 effort Brass Attitude. Along the way I was treated to some outstanding albums(M.F Horn 4 & 5 - Live at Jimmy's,Chameleon, & These Cats Can Swing) to some, shall we say, not so great efforts (Primal Scream, & Hot). Always though, there were two things consistant with every release, the signature sound of the MF trumpet and the high quality of his band.

"The Essential Maynard Ferguson" gives us a great look at his music as it evolved over a 40 year span. Although not large enough to be considered a "box set" it still has 30 titles. And of course, with only 30 songs there were quite a few missing that I would have preferred being included, such as "Left Bank Express" off Live at Jimmy's & "Ole" off Maynard 61. But with so much great music it really is hard to complain. Some of my personal favorites included here are "Blue Birdland" (the full version of what became Maynard's opening and closing piece of each set), "Two for Otis, "Superbone Meets the Badman" (Still my favorite MF song title) & Caravan (An awesome rendition of the old Duke Ellington number). What is even nicer is there are only a couple of pieces that I could have done without, such as "The Cheshire Cat Walk", a song from the disappointing Primal Scream effort.

Although I would love to see a four-to-five CD Box Set, this will do for now. I would seriously recommend this, not only to Maynard fans, but to all Jazz/Big Band/Swing music lovers. Even though "The Boss" is gone his music will live forever!
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on June 3, 2009
This albumn contains many of the tunes that made Maynard truly mainstream: "Birdland", "MacArthur Park", "Chameleon", "Give It One", etc. Along the way, there are some rather whimsical choices to include in the album, leaving out some of his finer work (likely some label issues). Some of the tracks have an interesting raw quality that make them sound like you're sitting in on a take in the studio...maybe you are!; some of the songs are not exactly flawless or perfect. That said, there are a couple of tracks that awe you with Maynard's raw trumpet skill, like "An Offering of Love". If you love Maynard, this a nice addition. For the price, there are two disks chock-full of a panorama of Maynard through many years and many bands, including the Birdland Dream Band, but lots of studio work too.
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on April 28, 2009
Maybe not essential, but a terrific overview of much of Maynard's career - 30 cuts, over two hours of music, pulled from four labels. I've been listening to Maynard for 38 years, own two dozen of his releases, and yet this collection contains some cuts I hadn't owned.

I won't individually rate each cut; everyone's got their own taste. Some prefer the earlier swinging big band sound, some prefer the more "pop" tunes, all featuring Maynard's soaring horn always backed up by outstanding bands. There's something, if not everything, here for everyone. It's almost a bargain at [...].
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on August 6, 2013
If you knew Maynard and his music and especially if you attended his concerts, you'll love The Essential Maynard Ferguson. I am a bit biased having followed him for several decades and having photographed three of his concerts. I miss him, his band and the excitement of his concerts. It is nice to know that he left so much for us to enjoy.
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on September 1, 2007
They couldn't have come up with a better title than The Essential Maynard Ferguson. This compilation of Maynard is a great album. Maynard is the "King of Brass" and he will be greatly missed. Even my 7 week old grandson loves this album. When I first got I had to hear it right away and little Colton just smiled the entire time it was playing. If you are a Maynard fan you got to have it. If you are a fan of big bands and brass you got to have it. If you are not a Maynard fan, you will be!!!!!
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on August 9, 2015
This is an awesome collection of the greatest trumpet player of my lifetime ! I am a big fan of the Columbia years, Gonna Fly Now, Birdland, Chameleon, Give It One, etc. This collection spans his career and is a must for any MF fan.
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on February 16, 2014
This album definitely captures MF's talent and energy. I would definitely recommend this CD.

Came on time and in good condition and everything.
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on March 3, 2011
To anyone who learned how to play jazz on the trumpet during the 1970's, Maynard Ferguson is like deity. Everyone wanted to be "the next Maynard Ferguson", and I'm sure a few lips and jaw muscles were deformed trying to hit the higher notes that Maynard made famous.

Listening again after all these years brings it all back, and how much fun playing jazz is. My trumpet has long since been divided among nephews, and I haven't played the trumpet in years, but listening to good ole M.F. Horn is good medicine for anyone who like me, struggled to hit those high notes with any degree of intonation.

Most famous among his pieces, "gonna fly now" the theme from the movie Rocky has that strong wocka wocka 70's beat combined with instrumental sounds typical of the age. Highly energetic music that will get your feet tapping.

Also a couple of my favorites in the CD are "MacArthur Park" and "Give it one". As a whole, I highly recommend this set of CD's as an example of a music legend who somehow helped keep Jazz alive during the age of rock and disco. Good stuff.
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on May 30, 2007
This is great listening for the young and old. It has tunes that go back to the fifties when LPs were the style of the day to modern day tunes where CDs and DVDs rule. This is great compilation of the career of the worlds most exciting trumpet player. Maynard may be gone now but he left a mark on many of us that will never be forgotten.
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on June 15, 2014
Outstanding,especially "Macarthur Park"

Righteous!!!I'm not even a trumpet player.Reed man.I heard this album on the TV jazz station. Had to have it.
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