With his permission, I occasionally steal from Bill Crow’s “Band Room” column of anecdotes in the American Federation of Musicians Union Local 802 newspaper Allegro. The latest theft is below.
First, a preamble for those who have been living in a box for several decades: Maynard Ferguson (1928-2006) was a trumpeter who played extremely high and extremely loud.
David Lucas, who now lives in Boca Raton, sent me this one. In the late 1960’s, Dave and Mike Abene went to the Metropole to hear Maynard Ferguson’s band. Mike had been in Maynard’s youth band. On the break, Dave and Mike went across the street to the Copper Rail, where many musicians hung out. A man was hunched over the bar who they recognized as Coleman Hawkins. They went over to say hello, and Mike asked, “Hawk, have you been across the street to hear Maynard?” Without looking up from his drink, Hawkins replied, “I don’t have to go across the street to hear Maynard.”
To see all of Mr. Crow’s June column, go here. The Rifftides staff thanks him for his generosity.
Thanks for “stealing” this story, Doug. One of the best anecdotes of all. I don’t remember who told me that, but wasn’t there a rumor that Maynard needed half an hour before the gig for getting any sound out of his horn, only because he had spoiled the flexibility of his lips? Too much pressure. But this was in his later years.
An American friend of mine e-mailed me this in 2004:
“There I sat, some 25+ years ago at the Sweden House in Tampa, Florida, listening to the Maynardless Ferguson band. Maynard got lost driving to Tampa from Sarasota, got arrested, but then got a police escort to the establishment. His horns were already there. He walked in, waved to the crowd, picked up a cold trumpet, and played his ass off. We sat in amazement! R.”