Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Jazz, Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
New Vintage - Maynard Ferguson
Michael Minn | New York City | 08/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Maynard Ferguson's "New Vintage" dates from 1977, around the middle of his contract with Columbia Records. His Columbia recordings were very pop oriented and extremely successful commercially, though when heard today are clearly a product of their time. Ferguson released one album per year and then toured the world, often performing in high school auditoriums and encouraging jazz education with an extremely exciting 12-piece band.
Ferguson's Columbia recordings fall into three vague periods. The first set, from "Alive and Well in London" (1969) to "Chameleon" (1974), featured a vicious band performing both straight-ahead and jazz-rock fusion charts recorded in real-time. His middle period, from "Primal Scream" (1975) to "New Vintage" (1977) incorporated studio musicians and guest soloists and
used extensive studio technique and signal processing. "Conquistidor" (1976) even yielded a top-40 hit, the theme from "Rocky." The recordings from the final period, from "Carnival" (1978) to "Hollywood" (1981), are a mixed bag, often betraying the strain for commercial acceptability, including more obligatory movie/TV themes (Rocky II, Battlestar Galactica), rigid pop covers (Baker Street, Star, 9-to-5), strange hybrid charts featuring background vocals (How Ya Doin' Baby, Toma Topa Woman), some excellent originals (Carnival, Spirit of St. Fredrick, Dayride) and a few straight-ahead standard gems (Aregin, Stella by Starlight, Naima).
"New Vintage" hails from the middle period and has a more cohesive band sound than the studio constructions of "Conquistidor" or "Primal Scream." All but one of the six charts were arranged by Jay Chattaway, who began his career writing for the U.S. Navy and followed his 70's band arranging work with a very successful film/TV scoring career, including hours of music for all the reincarnations of the Star Trek TV series. His moderately funky and accessible arrangements and compositions define the sound of "Primal Scream," "Conquistidor," and "New Vintage."
"New Vintage" follows the formula of "Conquistidor" almost track for track. "Star Wars" has pop hit written all over it, although it did not achieve the chart status of "Rocky." "Oasis" is the smooth brother of "Mister Mellow." A funky "Maria" equals "Star Trek" all the way to the freakish triple-high C nestled in the fade-out of the song. "El Vuelo" is an ersatz Spanish composition
similar to "Conquistidor." "Scheherazade" is a pop-funk classical adaptation in the mold of "Pagliacci" (from "Primal Scream"). "Aregin" is the odd-man out, a frantic traditional bop arrangement by Mike Abene that sounds especially clean with the album's dry production style and make you long for Ferguson's halcyon days with Stan Kenton's band in the early 50's.
While Ferguson's playing lacks the superhuman clarity of his work in the early 50's (he was 48 years old at the time of the recording), in some ways his lyrical tendencies mesh better with the soft-funk of "New Vintage" than the traditional jazz he pursued immediately before and after his Columbia days. The soloists are excellent, including a young Peter Erskine, saxophonist Mark Colby, flautist Bobby Militello and saxophonist Mike Migliore. Most of the sidemen were Ferguson's live band and given the passion and virtuosity they displayed in concert, it is a shame that their talent is often masked by the production technique and intentionally lukewarm scoring.
For those of us band geeks that came of age during this period, those high notes conjure happy memories of band trips and jazz festivals. While Ferguson's best Columbia recordings are, arguably, the early 70's MF-Horn series, none of those recordings are yet available on CD. The three mid-70's recordings have their own charm for those willing to take the time trip, and "New Vintage" may be the best of the bunch."
THIS ALBUM DEFINES AN ERA FOR FERGUSON
Paul Chronis | Plover, Wisconsin USA | 07/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""New Vintage" is the album that best defines Ferguson's style in this period.
Beginning with his signing with Columbia Records, MF and his orchestra performed jazz/rock versions of well-known pop tunes and TV/movie theme songs. Big Bands had employed this tactic for many years, and this album shows some of Ferguson's best examples of this practice. "Theme from Star Wars", "Maria" (from West Side Story) and the love theme from "Scheherezade" are all very good arrangements, and the latter two have taken a place as some of the most popular Ferguson songs of the era.
Maynard's retake on the Sonny Rollins classic "Airegin" is a remake of a great arrangement done by an earlier version of the band. It isn't as good as the original. but it's still good work.
Ferguson would have been better off ending the album there, but unfortunately, he filled up the space with "Vuelo" and "Oasis". Both songs are pleasant enough, but way too long; while "Vuelo" shows MF's penchant for Spanish/Latin music, both pieces threaten to put the listener to sleep; they're both filler.
Bottom line: "New Vintage" is a very good LP that could have been an unbelieveable EP. I would have released an EP that sold for a couple dollars less.
Ferguson's performance on the album is great; there have been albums where you can tell he had been on the road or that it was the 14th take, or he did two shows the night before; in other words, he sounds tired. NOT SO HERE. His sound and timbre are in great shape, as is his intonation. His solos are a little overdone, but that's Maynard at this point in his career.
Bottom line: If you like Maynard Ferguson, you will love the highlights on this CD, but you'll also be disappointed with the lowlights. I still give the album four stars because the good cuts are that much better than the bad ones; it's still well worth the price because of that alone. As Ferguson turns 75, it's a great example of some of the best he's offered over the years."
D. P. Melgaard | Utah | 04/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, well well, I have got to declare that this album contains all that whitehot Ferguson firepower that us devotees have come to expect, and more!!! Maynard really unleashes the full hi-chops artillery. Some fans might be offended by the blatant porny sounding arrangements, however, for my pure MF listening pleasure, Scherezade is top shelf (listen out for Maynard's backing babes and the 'stylish' MF violin cadenza at the start), Oasis is smooth ecstasy, and as for the second half of Maria, BAM! As for Star Wars, I think George Lucas should really consider making Maynard an honourary Jedi and use him on the upcoming film, Episode III. Finally, the CD cover art is the epitome of MF in his full glory. CHECK IT OUT!
Buy this MFGOLD Now!!!"