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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure. In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, you can find an archive list at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, July 7

Stan Kenton & Maynard Ferguson

About a million years ago, give or take a few hundred thousand, I was an ardent fan of Stan Kenton and his big band sound of the Forties. For all I know I might have been the only Kenton fan in all of South Dakota. I mean, Kenton Jazz, South Dakota? But there I was, a fan of "Artistry in Rhythm," "Artistry in Percussion," and all the other artistries he put out, keeping time to "The Peanut Vendor," "Machito," "Intermission Riff," "Concerto to End All Concertos," singing along with June Christy on the sexy "Interlude." After I could finally afford his albums in the Fifties, I bought almost everything I could find, some on multi-play 45’s, some on 33-lp’s. I even had a 12-record set called The Kenton Era. The albums, along with most of my other albums, fell victim to one or more of our cats, who loved to sharpen their front claws on the album edges. Just before we moved to Arizona, I decided to transfer all my albums to tape, as though tape was the answer to musical longevity, then sell or give away all the albums. One Kenton number that haunted me was something by Maynard Ferguson, a showpiece for him and his talented trumpet, entitled simply “Maynard Ferguson.” I played it so many times almost the whole thing was in my head and I could hear it whenever I thought of it. A few days ago I went through all my taped music, trying to figure out what I was going to do with it all. I mean, who today even wants tapes? And there it was, on a tape of The Kenton Era, on a side called Stan Kenton Presents—Maynard Ferguson, Shelly Mann, Art Pepper, and other well-knowns in his band, especially June Christy. I stuck it in my ancient tape player, went back and forth on the tape until I found what I was looking for, and listened again. Even through the scratchy noise of my transfer, Ferguson’s trumpet screamed out the notes I remembered. I wanted a cleaner copy to play for my grandson, who is now learning to play the trumpet, so I went back to Amazon and searched for Stan Kenton Presents, found it, could buy it used from a place in Japan for a reasonable price. In fact, all of Kenton seems to be available in Japan. Apparently Kenton is a Jazz icon there. I ordered it and then also found that the track I was looking for was on YouTube. Is every piece of music ever recorded available on YouTube? It seems to be. Here it is, in fuzzy black-and-white, a very young man in 1955 playing this incredible number, hitting notes that seem other-worldly. I’m also a fan of Chris Botti, but no two trumpeters are more at opposite poles than these two. I think of Ferguson as the Anti-Botti. Give a listen.

Is that good or what? Or maybe you're from South Dakota and don't care much for big-band jazz.

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