Maynard Ferguson Album Reviews - Big Bop Nouveau
Originally printed in Stereo Review, June 1990.
Recording: Very Good
Maynard Ferguson's bands have always come on like Gangbusters, and this one is no exception. Ferguson, though, is not as exhibitionistic as he used to be, and that's all to the good; in fact, "Big Bop Nouveau" is a lot warmer than the machine-like drill teams he used to front, and even the arrangements are less showy. Ferguson himself contributes some good solos, but the album's musical highlight has to be alto saxophonist Christopher Hollyday's breakneck reading of Ray Noble's Cherokee. Ferguson's older fans will welcome his return to an acoustic band and take particular delight in the 12-minute medley of the leader's past hits, comprising Chameleon, MacArthur Park, Frame for the Blues, Maria, and Joe Zawinul's Birdland.