Sunday, March 20, 2016

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Continues With Two New Maynard Ferguson Re-Issues

Canadian jazz virtuoso Maynard Ferguson's music is getting new life in the reissue campaign by Omnivore Recordings. Beginning last December, Omnivore Recordings reissued Ferguson's 1982 album "Storm" and his 1985 live album "Live From San Francisco" (review: On March 11th, they released the next wave of reissues with his 1986 album "Body & Soul" and his 1989 album "Big Bop Nouveau."

Following a successful live tour in 1985, Maynard Ferguson was on a creative high and he brought that energy to his next studio recording "Body & Soul." The original seven song release is full of high-powered numbers like the opener "Expresso" and "Last Drive." Rarely did he slow down the music, but when he did as in "Beautiful Hearts," Ferguson could capture the mood like no other. The gentle touch of his performance is breath-taking. The new reissue of "Body & Soul" get three previously unissued bonus tracks. First up is "Flight 108," which is a steady jazz-piece with shots of excitement from Ferguson's trumpet. Next is "Blues From Space," which is poetry reading laid over some smooth jazz grooves. Last up on this release is a live version of "M.O.T." with an even more killer groove than the original.

In 1989, Maynard Ferguson takes a break from his jazz fusion band and returned to the early classic big band sound on his album "Big Bop Nouveau." The album was recorded in full takes, "as live as possible" and the band sounded just great. This was the perfect move for Ferguson to revisit his roots, before moving forward into the nineties. The pinnacle of the album is the twelve-minute song "The Maynard Ferguson Hit Medley," which was recorded during his 60th Birthday Big Band Tour in the fall of 1988. The new reissue gets one bonus track, "Compared To You," an outtake from the "Big Bop Nouveau" sessions featuring Luther Kent on vocals on this jazzy/R&B number. To find out more about these new releases, please visit

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