The Maynard Ferguson Discography: The 1980s

The 1980s were yet another turning point for Ferguson as disco retreated into the dance clubs, jazz retreated into neoclassicism, America retreated into conservatism, and Ferguson's 1970s formula for commercial success faded. Following a final pair of pleasant but unfulfilling crossover albums to finish out his Columbia contract, Ferguson began to return to his own musical roots, albeit with one last set of experimental detours through smaller High Voltage groups that relied heavily on electronic instruments. By the end of the decade he had finally settled on an aggregation he called Big Bop Nouveau, a tight, economical, six-horn straight-ahead jazz group augmented with additional instruments for recordings and other special occasions.

Maynard Ferguson
May and June 1980: Mediasound, New York City

Sessions for the It's My Time album. Aside from the two heavily-layered cuts by disco producer Norbert De Coteaux (It's My Time and Star!), and an all-to-brief cut with a 27-piece orchestra (An Offering of Love) the remainder of the arrangements and compositions by Nick Lane are middle-of-the-road fare showcasing a surprisingly peaceful Ferguson with his road band of the time. Nothing groundbreaking, but a pleasant album with some nice lyrical moments.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
1981: Larrabee Studios and A&M Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Hollywood was one final studio extravaganza that unsuccessfully harkened back to the Bob James/Conquistador days. The Columbia magic that had resurrected MF's career in 1970 was exhausted and MF turned all responsibility over to the then-hot producer Stanley Clarke just to make sure. MF's trumpet sounds heavily processed throughout and he was quite unhappy with the album. Mercifully concluded Ferguson's Columbia contract, which he had no interest in renewing (Lee pp 196-197). Collective personnel listed by Lee (pp 283). This release is perhaps most disappointing because of the unrealized potential embodied in the substantial talent of the collective personnel, many of whom were arguably at the height of their commercial and artistic capabilities.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
27 May 1981: Osaka, Japan

Japanese radio broadcast listed by Lee (pp 283)

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
12 or 13 September 1981: Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA

Home video release. Personnel uncertain

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
19-20 June 1982: Playboy Jazz Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
23-24 June 1982: Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Sessions for the Storm album (Lee pp 201)

www.amazon.com

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
Friday, July 2, 1982 at 7 PM: Théâtre St-Denis, Festival International de Jazz, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

www.montrealjazzfest.com

Personnel

Mayport and All That Jazz (PBS) (television)
9 October 1982: Metro Park, Jacksonville, FL

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
27 May 1983: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA

Recorded and released as the Live From San Francisco album. First album since the 1974 without Stan Mark, who was fired earlier in the tour.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
28 or 29 May 1983: Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

Moderate quality audience video recording. Personnel presumably the same as the GAMH recording a few days earlier.

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
3-7 August 1983: Madaro-Newport Jazz Festival, Japan

Japanese TV broadcast. Gonna Fly Now translated as "Locky." Seems to have been a very hot outdoor concert as MF sweats profusely through his shirt.

www.youtube.com

Personnel

L. Subramaniam
1985: Fantasy Studios, Studio II Culver City and That Studio, North Hollywood, CA

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
January 1986: Los Angeles, CA

Trimmed-down, tech-heavy band for the Body and Soul album as a prelude to the High Voltage experiments. MF plays flat throughout the album and the 80's arrangements have not worn well.

Personnel

Sass et Brass (television)
13 October 1986: New Orleans, LA

HBO program released on video

www.youtube.com

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
March through May 1987: Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Sessions for the High Voltage album

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
1987?: Storyville Jazz Hall, New Orleans, LA?

Al Hirt joins MF and the High Voltage band. Location and personnel uncertain

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
July - September 1988: Santa Barbara, CA

Sessions for the High Voltage II album

Personnel

ZDF Jazz Club (television)
7 November 1987: JazzFest Berlin (Germany)

The High Voltage band plus five horns. Nice record of what an MF concert of this period was like.

www.mftourdates.net

www.youtube.com

Personnel

Jacksonville Jazz IX (television)
15 October 1988: Jacksonville, FL

A stop on the 60th birthday tour with a reconstituted big band horn section on top of the High Voltage rhythm section

www.tcm.com

Jacksonville Jazz IX (television)
15 October 1988: Jacksonville, FL

MF joins Michael Brecker, Louie Bellson and Bob James sitting in with Paul Shaffer's band.

articles.latimes.com

www.tcm.com

Maynard Ferguson
4-6 December 1988: Santa Barbara, CA

MF finally gives up on being a rock star and embraces the neoclassical zeitgeist of the day on sessions for an eponymously-titled album with his new group Big Bop Nouveau

www.mftourdates.net

Personnel

Maynard Ferguson
24-29 July 1988: Ronnie Scott's, London, England

Live recording released as Live From London

Personnel

Arsenio Hall Show, Season 1, Episode 60 (television)
27 March 1989 (air date): Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Promo appearance for the High Voltage II album, which seems a bit anachronistic since he already had a couple of albums in the can with Big Bop Nouveau

www.tv.com

Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, Season 1, Episode 182 (television)
25 May 1989 (air date): New York, NY

Interview appearance (no band) promoting High Voltage II during a Blue Note run. MF attempts (unsuccessfully) to teach Regis to play the trumpet. Plays a brief solo trumpet version of Gonna Fly Now.

www.youtube.com

www.tv.com