Maynard Ferguson: Octet (1955)
01. Finger Snappin’
02. My New Flame
03. Autumn Leaves
05. 20 Rue de Madrid
06. Super G
07. What Was Her Name?
Maynard Ferguson – trumpet, bass trombone, valve-trombone
Conte Candoli – trumpet
Milt Bernhart – trombone
Herb Geller – alto sax
Georgie Auld – tenor sax
Bob Gordon – baritone sax
Ian Bernhard – piano
Red Callender – bass
Shelly Manne – drums
Label: EmArcy MG-36021
Verve #B0011199-02 [2008, CD, re-issue re-master]
Recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, CA;
#01-05: April 25, 1955
#06-08: April 27, 1955
Arranger: Bill Holman
Just listened to my new Maynard Ferguson Octet album and here are a few preliminary thoughts:
1. Finger Snappin–Conventional type solo from MF but good all the same. He’s more interested in the changes than just getting in the stratosphere quickly. Maynard demonstrates his great range.
2. My new Flame–MF plays the head on muted trumpet. Nice trumpet work by Maynard, with and without mute. Lovely alto solo by Herb Geller. All Herb’s solos are super-nice on this album. Nice close harmonies in sax section. Shelley Manne does some tasteful drumming.
3. Autumn leaves–Nice sax soli section. Maynard is already very sure of himself when it comes to phrasing & interpretation.
4. Inter-space–nothing very extraordinary about this arrangement.
5. 20 Rue de Madrid–Herb Geller shines.What a careful & articulate crafter of melodies. Nice trumpet fireworks by Maynard.
6. Cool arrangement. nice syncopation between sax and trumpet/trombones. Drumming is kind of lame on this tune and doesn’t generate as much excitement asit should. Nice MF trombone solo. Really nice MF trumpet solo, despite what Bill Holman thinks(see Bill Holman thread). Plenty of fire.
7. What was her Name–Nice, tight ensemble work on the head. MF already has his own signature sound. Cool MF solo.
8. Yeah–Has the same feel and changes as “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” MF takes a mean solo among others.
The whole album is a great listen and has a nice swing feel. It swings but is never hokey. The balance overall is good but the drums and bass should have been mic-ed more. Balance between MF and ensemble is better than later albums which were designed to showcase his talent and range. Soli sections alternate nicely with ensemble sections. Everybody gets chances to solo.
Is this the same EmArCy recording as “Stratospheric”? Stratospheric has the same song selection, but just adds “I have but two horns”. Or is it a different session with the same song selection?
Yes, The Maynard Ferguson Octet and Stratospheric are one and the same recording; all of the selections on both albums are from an April 25, 1955 session for EmArcy. Stratospheric is also the name of a double album 1976 Mercury reissue that pretty much compiles all of Maynard’s EmArcy albums (Dimensions, Hollywood Party, The Maynard Ferguson Octet, and Around the Horn with Maynard Ferguson) with the exception of Boy With Lots of Brass. Motherfingers’ review of the Octet album is on the money (the title of tune #6 is “Super G,” by the way). It should be noted that all of the compositions and arrangements on the Octet album are by — Bill Holman! — who also made major contributions to MF’s other EmArcy albums, making his nasty comments about Maynard in another thread even more puzzling.
Thanks 18Maynardstreet for adding the title I forgot to #6.