Maynard Ferguson Album Reviews - These Cats Can Swing
From Jazz Times, February 1996
At 68, Maynard Ferguson's thrill-filled hornucopia is still spilling over with joyous power. His stratospheric sound hasn't decreased one decibel, and he still plugs in those incredibly rich, round notes where they count most.
His current mod squad swings hard and tight throughout, especially on "Caravan." The band's working over of "Sugar" has an intensity beyond Stanley Turrentine's original.
The leader's East Indian affinity is evident on "Sweet Baba Suite;" the traditional raga base is punctuated by straightahead solos, Chip McNeill's tenor in particular. Matt Wallace turns in fine tenor and alto work throughout, while trombonist Tom Garling has several fine segments. Pianist Ron Oswanski oozes romance on "I'll Be Around" and drummer Jason Harnell boots the boys through a soul-swinging blues, "It's the Gospel Truth." Two vocal tracks (by Wallace and Ferguson) provide comedy relief supported by solid instrumental power.
MF's latest little-big-band fulfills every element of its name, creating a big sound with hot bop chops and a fresh, new approach that roars from start to finish.