Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
M.F. Horn 3
Genres: Jazz, Pop
M.F. Horn 3 which reached #8 on The Billboard Jazz Albums chart and a respectable #128 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. Again, Ferguson performs with his English band featuring other famed musicians including Pete Jackso... more »
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M.F. Horn 3 which reached #8 on The Billboard Jazz Albums chart and a respectable #128 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. Again, Ferguson performs with his English band featuring other famed musicians including Pete Jackson, Randy Jones and Bruce Johnstone. On this volume, Ferguson steps back into Jazz mode, albeit with a more commercial edge. Wounded Bird. 2007.
Pop-influenced big band sound reaches maturity with this alb
James A. Vedda | Alexandria, VA USA | 04/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album marks the point at which Maynard's band hit its stride in the era of the pop-rock-influenced big band sound. In the years just prior to this 1973 release, the band had relied heavily - but not always successfully - on interpretations of top-40 tunes to give it a contemporary sound and wider appeal (the "Ridin' High" album is a prime example of a less-than-successful effort). For this album, five of the seven tracks are original tunes written especially for the band in a contemporary rock-influenced style that would help set the standard for other groups that would follow. For example, "Mother Fingers" sounds like the type of material the Saturday Night Live band started to play a few years later.
The remaining two tracks ("Round Midnight" and "Love Theme from The Valachi Papers") are the ballad offerings of this set, done in a style more like Maynard's band of a decade earlier. Both are beautiful arrangements, and this rendition of "Round Midnight" may be the best big band version of that old standard ever recorded.
Trumpet enthusiasts may wish that Maynard had done more trumpet solos instead of switching to valve trombone for a couple of tunes, but it's always nice to hear what he does with the latter instrument, where he's not expected to play high notes all the time. Also, some listeners (myself included) would better enjoy the closing track "S.O.M.F." if it didn't open and close with solos by an Indian instrument identified as the "veen." Those who know Maynard's history recognize this as his homage to the time he spent in India in the 1960s, but it seems starkly out of place in a big band setting. (Note: The updated CD package mislabels this track as "S.M.O.F.")
For avid Maynard fans, especially those who heard him perform in the 1970s, this CD is a must-have. For others, this is good but not his best from this period - see my review of "M.F. Horn 4 & 5: Live at Jimmy's.""
Incredible Concept Album - Best MF Ever!
Craig S. Cherry | Kansas | 06/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a jazz drummer playing in the 70's and 80's, I always admired Maynard Ferguson's big bands for their power and showmanship. But with the exception of MF2, I was generally disappointed with his albums of that era. Too many campy pop tunes, and generally lousy sound engineering (La Fiesta is almost unlistenable due to the stupid L/R channel bouncing of the keyboard solo).
Then there's this album: Not only is every track a gem, the sound is incredible. The whole band is perfectly mic'd, and you will be awed by the overall level of musicianship these guys had. And there's something really special about this session. It's hard to describe, but this album really takes you to another place. Between the incredible depth and detail of the recording and the flawless performance, this will totally transport you to a funky, rock-jazz realm that is beyond the sum of the parts. As others have commented, the ballads are beautiful, and show surprising maturity and restraint from the master of power-jazz. But it's the funky rock-based tunes that are the heart of this album. I love the spaced out effects which (for once) actually enhance the compositions. Pochohantas is my favorite; always wished someone would cover it, although nobody could play it better than these guys.
And for drummers out there - this is some of the best studio drumming I've ever heard. The technique is flawless and oh so tasteful. Some of the little ruffs and fills on the snare I still can't figure out how he played. But more importantly, he brings this band to life without showboating - powerful and exciting, but never over the top.
I'd STRONGLY recommed this album to anyone who likes big-band jazz and wants to hear something really unique. It will probably go out of print pretty quickly, so I would get this sooner than later. Listen to this with high-quality headphones and you will be amazed..."