Maynard Ferguson: masterclass and concert at East Tennessee State University April 18, 2003 
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Maynard at ETSU

On April 11, Maynard Ferguson visited East Tennessee State University (ETSU) to perform a master class and concert that evening as featured artist at the Tri-Cities Jazz Fest, under the direction of Dr. David Champouillon.

Mr. Ferguson will turn 75 in May and is still going strong. His clinic included working with the ETSU Jazz Ensemble and an attentive audience of over 100 trumpet lovers. He was introduced by the band playing his signature tune, Blue Birdland, a show of respect for his accomplishments which was well received judging by the radiant smile on Ferguson's face. Also presenting the master class were several members of Ferguson's band, including trumpeters Patrick Hession and Kevin Meads. The clinic focused on basic brass breathing fundamentals, daily practice skills, stylistic concerns and different uses of the piece. Justin Stanton, a sophomore trumpet major, performed Blue Bossa for Ferguson and received coaching on his soloing. Ferguson suggested that to also have experience as a lead player would be a positive influence on soloing. The rest of the class consisted of Ferguson answering questions from the audience, on topics ranging from horn and mouthpiece choices to personal and professional stories from his career. Ferguson also emphasized the need to maintain healthy teeth, having had some playing problems with this in the last year. He explained that his dentist had corrected the problem and he was now playing as strongly as ever. That night's concert proved him correct.

Maynard in the evening concert

The ETSU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of David Champouillon, opened with a 30-minute set. Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau Band then took the stage then for 75 minutes that left no listener unsatisfied, constantly bringing the crowd of more than 800 to its feet, shouting its approval. Tunes included outstanding arrangements of I Want To Be Happy, The Girl From Impanema, and I'm Old Fashioned, each selection thrilling the audience with Ferguson's playing (still soaring constantly above high G), ample space for each soloist, and good old-fashioned "strong-as-a-horse lead playing" from Patrick Hession. Trumpet Larry Foyen, a New Orleans native, performed numerous well-paced and exciting jazz solos throughout the night. Trumpeter Kevin Meads provided the intangibles to any fine trumpet section, including stints as lead. The concert was completed with a 15-minute medley of signature Ferguson tunes including MacArthur Park, Hey Jude, Give It One, Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, and Chameleon.. The medley evoked many memories of prior concerts as the trumpet section went out into the crowd for Hey Jude, playing the melody up the octave alone and in unison. Additionally, they all came to the front to perform the Chameleon melody up the octave in unison, again reminding concert listeners of scenes from earlier Maynard concerts. Hession's lead playing should be noted, as not only did he play lead for a strenuous 60 minutes, but then performed all of the original Ferguson parts in the medley. It was a testament to Ferguson's ability to feature his band members, allowing them to share the large spotlight that constantly follows his playing. Ferguson and the band were the perfect role models for aspiring and professional musicians alike - courteous, gracious, patient, enthusiastic, and talented. After the concert the evening closed with an All-Star jam session, in the lobby of the Meadowview Marriott Convention Center, with Ferguson's band members and other artists at the festival.

Websites:
Music at East Tennessee State University
maynard.ferguson.net - fan site with tour dates etc.

Source: David Champouillon

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