The Maynard Ferguson Discography: The 1950s

Kenton formed his experimental Innovations Orchestra in 1950 and Ferguson finally had the opportunity to accept Kenton's longstanding offer. Ferguson had a number of prominent solo opportunities during his Kenton years that sealed his reputation.

Ferguson left Kenton in 1953 and joined the staff orchestra at Paramount Pictures. Although his contract prevented him from performing live, he made a number of jazz and pop recordings both as a studio musician and under his own name.

Studio work was very lucrative, but Ferguson found it musically limiting and he decided to leave Paramount in 1956. Ferguson subsequently accepted an offer to front an all-star group of studio musicians in New York City at the Birdland jazz club. The Birdland Dream Band would serve as the template for much of Ferguson's remaining career, providing him with an initial set of charts, a set of relationships with the best musicians and writers in New York, and a small-big-band format that was both economical and musically-fulfilling for its members.

In 1958, Ferguson began a series of recordings for Roulette records that are arguably the best of his career.

Stan Kenton
3 February 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

First session for the Innovations Orchestra

Personnel

Stan Kenton
3 February 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
4 February 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
5 February 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
5 February 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
18 May 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
18 May 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
18 May 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
15 June 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Nat King Cole
16 August 1950: Los Angeles, CA

The Nat King Cole trio with Stan Kenton and his orchestra

Personnel

Nat King Cole
16 August 1950: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
21 August 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
21 August 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
12 September 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
13 September 1950: Los Angeles, CA

Harkins considers this MF's first session as a leader, although it is largely Kenton's studio band of the time. Harkins notes that MF led his own band in Canada between 1944 and 1947 that was broadcast on the CBC, but if air checks of those broadcasts exist, they have not been released on commercial recordings.

Personnel

Stan Kenton
14 September 1950: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
20 March 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
28 March 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
28 May 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
31 May 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
29 June 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
1951?: Unknown

Video of a TV performance circulating on the web. Uncertain date, program and personnel

www.youtube.com

Stan Kenton
July 1951: Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ

Personnel

Stan Kenton
19 September 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
20 September 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Harkins (pp 44) is not certain the two Blues in Burlesque were recorded at this session.

Personnel

Stan Kenton
14 October 1951: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Live concert by the Innovations Orchestra on their second tour

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Personnel

Stan Kenton
5 and 7 December 1951: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Sessions for the City of Glass suite

Personnel

Ben Webster
27 December 1951: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Paul Nero
Sometime in 1952: The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, CA?

Personnel

Bob Keene and His Orchestra
1952: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
21 January 1952: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Ike Carpenter
February 1952: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Ike Carpenter
February 1952: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
25 August 1952: Los Angeles, CA

Harkins lists this as MF's second session as a leader, although he primarily serves as an accompanist to his first wife, Kay Brown, on a pair of Mercury singles.

Personnel

Stan Kenton
14 July 1952: New York, NY

A pair of as-yet unissued recordings

Personnel

Stan Kenton
8-10 September 1952: Chicago, IL

Personnel

Stan Kenton
10 September 1952: Chicago, IL

Personnel

Stan Kenton
11 September 1952: Chicago, IL

Some releases have shorter time with Konitz's solo edited out

Personnel

Stan Kenton
15 September 1952: Chicago, IL

Personnel

Stan Kenton
16 September 1952: Chicago, IL

Personnel

Vido Musso
1953-1954: Unknown - probably Los Angeles

Personnel

Stan Kenton
22 September 1952: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
28 September 1952: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
30 January 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
30 January 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
11 February 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
11 February 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Howard Rumsey
21 February 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Harkins (pp 64) does not believe MF plays on Viva Zapata

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
26 March 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
2 April 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
14 July 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

June Christy
14 August 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Louis Bellson
September 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Leith Stevens
2 October 1953: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Red Garters (film)
1953: Hollywood, CA

Personnel

White Christmas (film)
1953:

Personnel

The Wild One (film)
1953:

Personnel

Living It Up (film)
1953:

Personnel

Knock on Wood (film)
1953:

Personnel

Rear Window (film)
1954:

Personnel

Run For Cover (film)
1954:

Personnel

Lucy Gallant (film)
1954:

Personnel

Love Is a Weapon (film)
1954:

Personnel

The Girl Rush (film)
1954:

Personnel

Sabrina Fair (film)
1954:

Personnel

Secret of the Inca (film)
1954:

Personnel

The Vagabond King (film)
1954:

Personnel

We're No Angels (film)
1954:

Personnel

Three Ring Circuis (film)
1954:

Personnel

The Seven Little Foys (film)
1954:

Personnel

The Court Jester (film)
1954 (opened 27 January 1956): Hollywood, CA

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Personnel

The Country Girl (film)
1954:

Personnel

Air Command (film)
1954:

Personnel

Two Captains West (film)
1954:

Personnel

The Big Top (film)
1954:

Personnel

About Mrs. Leslie (film)
1954:

Personnel

Conquest of Space (film)
1954:

Personnel

The Bridges of Toko-Ri (film)
1954:

Personnel

June Christy
18-19 January 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
2 February 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
8 February 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
9 February 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
19 February 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Marathon first session for MF's first album as a leader, Dimensions. A set of cleverly-orchestrated septet arrangements that presage the small-big-band format he would return to throughout his career. Willie Maiden arranger on some cuts.

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
22 February 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
22 February 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Session for Hollywood Party album. Willie Maiden arranger?

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
23 February 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Session for Jam Session album

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
3 March 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
31 March 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
1 April 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Harkins (pp 46) says this recording may be from the 3/31/1954 session, but the out-of-sequence master number calls that into question

Personnel

Bud Shank
3 April 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Prez Prado
9 April 1954: Los Angeles?

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
28 April 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
29 April 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
6 May 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
10 May 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Billy May
26 May 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
21 June 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Bud Shank
22 June 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
8 July 1954: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
14 August 1954:

Personnel

Dinah Washington
14 August 1954: Los Angeles, LA

Personnel

Charlie Barnet
29 November 1954: Hollywood, CA

MF rejoins his old boss for some recordings with the regular crowd of LA studio musicians

Personnel

Charlie Barnet
December 1954: Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Charlie Barnet
9 December 1954: Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Charlie Barnet
20 December 1954: Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Elmer Bernstein
Uncertain dates in mid 1950s: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Artists and Models (film)
1955:

Personnel

The Scarlet Hour (film)
1955 (opened April 1956): Hollywood, CA

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Personnel

The Mambo (film)
1955: Hollywood, CA?

Harkins lists this as a film, but there is no entry for it in IMDB. Mambo was particularly fashionable that year so there are a number of television series episodes with that title, but it is unclear which, if any, of those Harkins is referencing.

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Personnel

The Lady Eve (film)
1955: Hollywood, CA

This is another curious entry from Harkins (pp 67a) since the only IMDB listing is for a film from 1941 when MF was still in high school

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Personnel

The Desperate Hours (film)
1955 (opened February 1956): Hollywood, CA

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Personnel

Anything Goes (film)
1955 (opened April 1956): Hollywood, CA

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Personnel

The Birds and the Bees (film)
1955: Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Russ Garcia
1955?: Los Angeles, CA?

Personnel

The Man Who Knew Too Much (film)
1955: Hollywood, CA

Harkins mentions this soundtrack (pp 69) but MF likely does not play on the single of the hit song from the film

Personnel

The Proud and Profane (film)
1955: Hollywood, CA

Personnel

That Certain Feeling (film)
1955? (film opened in July 1956): Hollywood, CA

Harkins lists MF on the soundtrack. The title is from a 1925 George and Ira Gershwin tune that Bailey performs during the opening credits and that Hope reprises later on. There was a commercial recording of that tune by Pearl Bailey and (husband) Louis Bellson, but MF probably did not play on that recording.

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Personnel

The Rose Tattoo (film)
1955:

Personnel

To Catch a Thief (film)
1955:

Personnel

The Road to Bali (film)
1955:

Personnel

Oreste Short (film)
1955:

Personnel

Pardners (film)
1955:

Personnel

Stan Kenton
25 January 2014: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
11 February 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Milt Bernhart
4 March 1955: Los Angeles, CA

First of three sessions for the album (Harkins 1976, 10).

Personnel

Milt Bernhart
6 March 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Milt Bernhart
8 March 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
25 April 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Session for Octet album

Personnel

Jack Millman
18 May 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Jack Millman
18 May 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
26-27 August 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Georgie Auld
29 September 1955: Los Angeles, CA

First of three sessions for the album (Harkins 1976, 1).

Personnel

Georgie Auld
7 November 1955: Los Angeles, CA

(Harkins 1976, 1)

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
7 November 1955: Los Angeles, CA

First session for the Around the Horn album. Bill Holman, arranger?

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
10 November 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Bill Holman, arranger?

Personnel

Dinah Washington
11 November 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel uncertain (Harkins pp 72)

Personnel

Georgie Auld
11 November 1955: Los Angeles, CA

(Harkins 1976, 1)

Personnel

Dinah Washington
12 November 1955: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel uncertain (Harkins pp 72)

Personnel

Russ Garcia
14 November 1955: Hollywood, CA

MF as section trombonist

www.freshsoundrecords.com

Personnel

The Leather Sain (film)
1956:

Personnel

Blackboard Jungle (film)
1956:

Personnel

Beau James (film)
1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

The Delicate Delinquent (film)
1956:

Personnel

Funny Face (film)
1956:

Personnel

The Ten Commandments (film)
1956:

Personnel

The Mountain (film)
1956:

Personnel

Prez Prado
1956 or 1957?: Hollywood

Personnel

Axidentals
Uncertain date in 1956: Los Angeles, CA

MF in the studio band behind an excellent (and, unfortunately, largely forgotten) mixed close-harmony quartet with a sound similar to the Hi-Los (Harkins 1976, 3). Milt Chapman joined in the Hi-Los 1965-1967.

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Personnel

Axidentals
Uncertain date in 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
11 February 1956: Goldwyn Studios, Hollywood, CA

MF reunites with a number of other Kenton alums to re-record updated arrangements of some of Kenton's greatest hits for the Kenton in Hi-Fi album. Lee's (1980, 215) bio of Kenton gives no indication of why Kenton replaced most of his working band with studio musicians for these sessions, although the difference is audible in comparison to Kenton's other recordings of the period, and the subsequent long-lasting popularity of the Hi-Fi recordings certainly validates the choice. Unfortunately, hi-fi didn't mean stereo in 1956 and only a handful of alternate takes apparently exist in stereo.

Personnel

Stan Kenton
12 February 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Stan Kenton
12 February 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Georgie Auld
10 April 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel is uncertain (Harkins 1976, 1)

Personnel

Georgie Auld
12 April 1956: Los Angeles, CA

First of three sessons for . Personnel is uncertain (Harkins 1976, 1)

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
7 May 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Bill Holman, arranger?

Personnel

Georgie Auld
12 May 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel is uncertain (Harkins 1976, 1)

Personnel

Georgie Auld
Sometime in 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel and date are uncertain (Harkins 1976, 2)

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
12 May 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Bill Holman, arranger?

Personnel

June Christy
23 May 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Francis Faye
6 June 1956: Hollywood, CA

MF in the trombone section behind a throaty-voiced cabaret singer best remembered now (if at all) for her bisexuality.

www.freshsoundrecords.com

Personnel

Bing Crosby with Buddy Bregman
June 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Sessions for the Bing Sings Whilst Buddy Swings album. Pleasant collection although Crosby is no Sinatra and Buddy is no Nelson. Notable for the inclusion of some rarely-peformed Rodgers and Hart tunes. Harkins does not include this session but MF is included in liner notes in CD releases.

www.allmusic.com

www.discogs.com

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
5 July 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
9 July 1956: Los Angeles, CA

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Personnel

Pete Rugolo
10 July 1956: Hollywood, CA

www.freshsoundrecords.com

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
10 July 1956: Hollywood, CA

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Personnel

Pete Rugolo
10 July 1956: Hollywood, CA

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Personnel

Johnny Richards
September 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Johnny Richards
September 1956: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
8 September 1956: New York, NY

The first Birdland Dream Band session. Liner notes from CD release state that this session was held as scheduled at 4:45 AM (!) on 8 September immediately after the last set at Birdland. Harkins (pp 24) lists it as 7 September.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
11 September 1956: New York, NY

Two separate afternoon sessions at 1:00 PM and 4:45 PM

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
24 September 1956: New York, NY

First sesson for the second Birdland Dream Band album

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
25 September 1956: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
25 September 1956: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
25 September 1956: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
25 September 1956: New York, NY

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
29 October 1956: Hollywood, CA

www.freshsoundrecords.com

Personnel

Pete Rugolo
31 October 1956: Los Angeles, CA

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Personnel

Pete Rugolo
2 November 1956: Los Angeles, CA

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Personnel

Charlie Barnet
November 1956: Hollywood, CA

Barnet re-records some of his hits in stereo with a studio band

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
December 1956: Peacock Lane Jazz Room, Hollywood, CA

MF brings the Dream Band charts (but not the band) back to the left coast for a club performance

Personnel

Buddy Bregman
16, 18, 20 December 1956: Los Angeles, CA

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Personnel

Russ Garcia
1957: Los Angeles, CA

One set of instrumental tracks for an sprawling multi-disk adaptation of the score from George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess

Personnel

Dino (film)
1957: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel


1956 or 1957?: Hollywood, CA

Universal short #3655. IMDB sets this in 1950 with the verbs in the title reversed. However, the band opens with a Birdland Dream Band number copyrighted by Al Cohn in 1956. Film also features dancers Peggy Ryan and Ray McDonald, along with singers Russ Arno, The Sabres, and the DeCastro Sisters.

www.imdb.com

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
6 January 1957: Peacock Lane Jazz Room, Hollywood, CA

Second set of live recordings from the west coast version of the Dream Band

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
30 January 1957: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Francis Faye
February and March, 1957: Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Shorty Rogers
1 February 1957: Los Angeles, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
July-August 1957: New York, NY

Sessions for Boy With Lots of Brass, MF's last Mercury album before the Roulette era. Same instrumentation as the Birdland Dream Band, but only Jimmy Cleveland returns for these recordings. Hawkins (pp 25) lists these sessions in July 1957, but the Bill Kirchner's liner notes for the 1995 Jazz Masters 52 CD date Lamp is Low, Love Me or Leave Me, Moonlight in Vermont and Easy to Love on 8/2/57

Personnel

Sal Salvador
1958: New York City

Personnel

Sal Salvador
21 April 1958: New York City

Personnel

Sal Salvador
23 April 1958: New York City

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
May 1958?: New York, NY?

Session with studio orchestra for a Roulette single. Neither side appears in the Mosaic/Roulette box set. Session is not in Harkins' discog and the date is speculative.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
6 May 1958: New York, NY

First session for Roulette Records

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
7 May 1958: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
8 May 1958: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
15 December 1958: New York, NY

First session for the Swingin' My Way Through College album

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
16 December 1958: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
17 December 1958: New York, NY

Personnel

Leonard Bernstein
1959: New York, NY

A symphony by fellow Kenton alum Bill Russo. Finale features an impossibly high trumpet part written for MF, who sounds very tense and uncomfortable.

Personnel

The Canadian All-Star Band (television)
1959?: Toronto, Canada?

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
23 February 1959: New York, NY

First session for the Plays Jazz for Dancing album, a second collection of functional (and generally uninteresting) charts from the band's dance music book.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
25 February 1959: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
26 February 1959: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
31 February 1959: New York, NY

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
17 June 1959: Birdland, 1678 Broadway, New York, NY

Five sets (26 songs total) recorded live. Seven cuts appeared on the original album and twelve cuts (with alternate takes) are included in the Mosaic Complete Roulette set.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
28 October 1959: New York, NY

Personnel