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Home arrow.gif (67 bytes) Stratospheric Report

Stratospheric was here, and it was amazing. Somehow, the event lived up to its hype. The event was far too huge to review in depth, so I'll divide the updates into two sections:

Reviews/written reports
Want to hear these artists at home? Here's my collection of albums by Stratospheric artists.

The 4 day event was amazing and exhausting. Instead of writing a long review, I've posted some of the most thoughtful entries from the MF Forum.

Posted By: Hollywood70
Date/Time: 9/30/04 5:58 pm

I just returned from a panel discussion that was added to the program due to Herb Gellar not being able to make it to LA.

The theme of the panel was "On the Inside", and featured Ed Sargent, Liinda Maertz, Bob Birk, Herb Wong, Maynard Ferguson(!), and our very own Matt Keller.

Each member of the panel discussed their various rolls within the organization. Ed described the organization as a big pie with each person having a piece to complete the circle and make the orginazation run smoothly.

A question asked of Ed was the status of a new MF studio recording. He said that there WILL be one, but the logistics of getting into the studio are difficult, as well as not wanting to "over saturate" the market with new Maynard stuff.. What new stuff, you may ask?

1. Ed and Linda confirmed that a DVD release will be out in time for Christmas of a performance from Seattle in 2000.
2. Best of MF Horn Series (includes cuts from "alive and well in London"). 13 tracks hand picked by MF, and Ed mentioned that Sony wants to have it out by Christmas, but he wouldn't be surprised to see it 1st or 2nd quarter 2005.
3. Best of MF Horn Series Vol II. Ed stated that although it is not a complete "reality" like the first best of MF Horn CD is, Maynard is currently in the process of choosing 13 additional tracks for a second volume of Best of MF Horn.

Another question asked of the panel was whether MF would bring in a full big band for a recording project even if keeping the small band on the road. Ed asnwered that they aren't opposed to bringing in an extra musician (i.e., Denis Diblasio on "Swingin for Schuur"), and Maynard added that he is more in favor of recording his touring band as is, since the record buying public expects to hear a replication of the most recent recordings when seeing a band live.

It was a great panel discussion, and I will report more later!

Posted By: Rusty
Date/Time: 10/2/04 3:22 am

The guys had a little trouble with Stella by Starlight tonight...apparently, they started off before anyone realized that the lead trumpet part was missing! Roger Ingram did his best to improvise, but there were still noticeable holes.

MF was present during the whole thing, taking the stage to give long and heartfelt intros to Slide Hampton and Mike Abene. There definitely seems to be a spring in MF's step this weekend; did anyone else notice that he jumped up on stage (at least a 3 foot hop) without help at one point tonight?

DiBlasio was awesome, as was Lanny Morgan, who seemed to get the most solo space tonight -- many of the charts from that period had prominent alto features. No wonder, when they had a monster like Lanny on the band! Slide Hampton is also a national treasure.

My only small gripe so far is that the trumpet section isn't loud enough! They seem to be lost in the mix at times, at least from where I've been sitting in the fifth row. Also, I really would've liked to have seen whoever's taking MF's part on a particular tune to come down front rather than just sitting back in the section. I have the feeling that's going to be different when we get to the 70's charts tomorrow (can't wait!).

Posted By: jazzmkr
Date/Time: 10/2/04 4:02 pm

The Ballad Style concert was very good. Although I tend to hate strings, it was a nice change. Bobby Shew said something about it feeling like being wrapped in velvet. Bobby opened up the concert with two features. I can't remember the names of all his features (he had four), but I do know he played Somewhere and Maria. Maria was the last tune of the concert. Bobby had been having some trouble with his 3rd valve sticking. At the end of Maria in a very exposed part, Bobby's valve stuck again. He just held up the trumpet, looked at the audience, and said "Made in Japan". He then finished the song. Funny. Pete Disenia did a nice job on a tune I haven't heard before. Roger played some really loud high notes on Born Free. My favorite performance of the concert was played by Adolfo Acosta. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves. He's a fine young trumpet player. He didn't play the loudest or the highest, but I thought he was the most musical. Overall, the concert was a very nice touch. All four trumpet players did an excellent job. I'm glad I went.

Posted By: jazzmkr
Date/Time: 10/2/04 9:16 pm

I've just returned from my favorite concert so far. ERIC MIYASHIRO IS A MONSTER!!!! He's just awesome. He performed Bridge Over Troubled Water and Macarthur Park. What an amazing job. I need to pick up his CDs, which are for sale here. I think he's playing again tonight, so I'll definitely need to catch him. If you ever get a chance to hear this incredible trumpet player, DO NOT pass up the opportunity. Buy his CDs. Hear this man. You will not be disappointed.

Another highlight of the concert was Scott Englebright playing Hey Jude. It was the closer of the concert and had tons of energy. Scott played some fat high notes (I think he had some double C's). Mike Bogart and Adolfo Acosta had some great features as well. The drummer, Ray Brinker, is great. The concert was incredible. I'm sorry for those of you who weren't able to attend.


Posted By: Hollywood70
Date/Time: 10/3/04 1:50 am

Here's the set list from tonight:

Nice N Juicy
Maria (not disco)
Don't Let the Sun go down (Eric Miyas-is-my-hiro)
Superbone Meets the Bad Man
Theme from Rocky
Gospel John
Sesame Street
Coconut Champagne
Everybody Loves the Blues
It Might as well be spring

and more.. my brain just isn't working right now..

THe early show tonight featured:

Mac Park
Hey Jude
Spinning Wheel
Summer of 42

and more

I think there were a few more, but I just can't seem to remember them right now. Hopefully someone else can post some of the details, because I have BEER to consume and pictures to take!


Posted By: btrexler
Date/Time: 10/3/04 11:20 am

First time I heard Eric play and he was definitely a monster last night. He was featured on 'Don't Let...' and Conquistador (he played the Firebird). He nailed all the parts with with minimal effort it seemed. He also has a big fat tone that filled the ballroom. Eric got a standing ovation after 'Don't Let' and Maynard gave the band a standing Ovation after 'Conquistador'.

Bob Summers and Wayne Bergeron were featured together on 'Nice n Juicy'. Both played fantastic. It was great to hear Bob Summers live and in person after so many years of hearing his great solo on MF Horn 4&5. Wayne played some great jazz with some great high register licks thrown in. He was later featured on 'Rocky' and of course that seemed to be effortless for him. He trilled the double B.

Dennis Noday played his butt off on 'Maria' and a standard that I can't remember the name of right now. He has a HUGE sound. You can really tell Maynard's influence in his playing. He also did some great section work and belted out many double Cs

Another highlight was John Chudoba (sp?). John played Gospel John JUST LIKE ON THE ALBUM. I thought note for note he copied Maynard's licks right on. He is another who has a big, fat sound that really filled up the place.

Mike Bogart was featured on 'Superbone Meets The Badman' . He played some excellent jazz on the Super Bone.

Stan Mark was featured on "Sesame Street" and played a great jazz solo. Many of the sideman were floored with his solo because it was the first time they heard him play like that. I was drinking with Brian "Hard Bop" Smith after the show and he commented he was always so used to hearing him play lead, it was great to hear him play jazz.

The saxes were all great. Denis DeBlaiso were featured quite a bit and man he is a extremely talented dude. He did a solo feature on flute that featured various techniques that just floored me. He also did some scat singing on a tune that was off the charts

Alex Illes (sp?) also did a solo feature on an arrangement of 'Sweet Georgia Brown'. It was fabulous.

Scott Engelbright and Adolfo Acosta were featured as well and both were very, very strong. Scott has done a lot of jazz playing htis weekend and that was a treat to hear since he is a great jazz soloist as well.

I am probably forgetting a lot that I am sure someone else will cover

I have also met a ton of people and former players which has been a plus for the event.




Posted By: erlmax
Date/Time: 10/3/04 12:03 pm

Well, I got in my car and drove 100 miles to LAX yesterday for the MF HORN concert and the 70s/80s alumni concert. What a total blast!

The 1st concert began with MacArthur Park. Eric Miyashiro played the solo part seemingly effortlessly and with a huge fat sound. He really impressed with the second part of the ballad section, screaming over the band and showing great long tone endurance. It was great to hear the full MF HORN I album arrangement complete with the modal jazz/swing solos in the middle section. DiBlasio, Nick lane and Brian Smith took solos.

Next Mike Bogart was featured playing Country Road playing superbone on the opening verse before switching to trumpet. He nailed the ending section bringing a lot of cheers from the audience.

Adolfo Acosta then came up to do Summer Of '42 from MF HORN II and did a beautiful job with the chart. Nice and restrained with a lovely ballad sound.

Ernie Garside was emcee-ing this concert and then announced they would do Spinning Wheel. He indicated that this tune had been shorted on rehearsal time. It was fun hearing the band read down this chart with all its feel/tempo/meter changes.

Acosta came back to do MF's part on Shaft which had a stand-out moment in Alex Isles trombone solo. A great jazz player.

Mike Bogart successfully recreated MF's half-valve/blusey approach to Fire And Rain eliciting a few smiles among the band members.

Eric Miyashiro then brought the house to its feet with Bridge Over Troubled Water. It was a great performance. An enormous sound.

The show came to an end with Hey Jude. Scott Englebright covered Maynard's part. The ending, which I've never found much to resemble music was actually kind of exciting with the band really capturing the long, drawn out crescendo of noise. A whole-lotta-screamin'-goin'-on.

Maynard then took the stage to thank the band. He wondered aloud if there would be anything in his book left to play the following night.

The band sounded terrific all-around with the rhythm section, especially Ray Brinker on drums, really driving things along.

It was a real thrill to hear these charts again played by a band obviously having a lot of fun doing them. I'll post on the evening concert later.



Posted By: erlmax
Date/Time: 10/3/04 3:48 pm

A few remarks on the 70s & 80s Reunion Concert

The band started with Nice 'n Juicy from MF HORN III. As BT reported above, Bob Summers and Wayne Bergeron traded solos on the tune (over a GREAT funk groove set up by the rhythm guys). They each did 3 choruses on the same mic and then began to trade fours and wound up playing together over the band. The amazing thing was during the trading Wayne was mostly off mic but I could hear every note loud and clear from my seat near the back of the room. A lot of power. Wayne also really stood out on the tunes he took over the lead chair in the back. Great power, phrasing, accuracy. A real machine.

Jay Chattaway led the band through 5 of his charts. He began by commenting on just how thrilled he was to be there and that his experiences working with and writing for Maynard in the 70s were among the happiest of his life. The band really excelled on Conquistador. It was about as good a performance as you could get.

Dennis Noday played Maria and It Might As Well Be Spring. While his performance wasn't note perfect, he exhibited that raw, go-for-broke kind of excitement that overshadowed any flaws in his performance. A big, wide sound, and a LOT of volume on the high climaxes, complete with that that bent over backward, about-to-cause-a-brain-aneurysm look. Thrilling. While returning to the back row after Maria he remarked jokingly to the band ..."and I didn't use any pressure."

Alex Isles provided an absolute highlight of night with his solo trombone version of Sweet Georgia Brown. He prefaced his performance by saying he grew up without the benefit of any jazz bands or musicians to play with so he tried to play all the parts. He launched into the tune creating all the rhythm and harmony himself, combing lots of multiphonics with real attention to the changes. Virtuosic and extremely entertaining.

DiBlasio did a similar solo flute rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, interrupting his solo only to remark "I get paid for this."

He also did several scat chorus on Sesame Street, including a couple in stop-time which brought big applause. Stan Mark then really surprised me and a lot of others with four choruses of blues on the same tune. He did three with harmon and one open and sounded terrific. He did a nice job on lead during the night as well.

I should also add that John Chudoba really impressed with the MF parts on Gospel John and Coconut Champagne. Clean & accurate.

To wrap up, before introducing one of his charts, DiBlasio turned to the audience and asked "Do you realize how cool all this is?" That really sums up the vibe of the night. I don't think I've ever seen a band having so much fun. It was infectious and spread throughout the room. I've been reliving the whole night over and over. The kind of experience you don't want to let go of.

All in all, a fantastic tribute to Maynard Ferguson.


Posted By: brianw
Date/Time: 10/3/04 9:37 pm

I am sitting on the far right side of the room. It was interesting last night to see Adolfo Acosta and Wayne B. come out and stand by the wall during Eric's performance. Adolfo simply smiled and shook his head, with Wayne doing almost the same thing. The power Eric gets out of his horn is astounding...definitley a huge monster.


Posted By: TBTrpt3
Date/Time: 10/4/04 1:29 am

This was, by far, the greatest concert I have ever been to. Maynard was on fire, as was Patrick. And when he called the full trumpet line (all 16+ of them!) out to play the ending of Blue Birdland, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

This was easily the greatest night of my life, and I sincerely want to thank every single person involved with it, from the organizers to the musicians. As I walked out of the concert with my buddies, we all agreed that nothing can or will ever top the experience we had tonight listening to the bands today.


Posted By: k115810 (me)
Date/Time: 10/4/04 4:17 am

Without sounding overly sentimental (it IS 2:09 in the morning, after all), tonight was truly magical. Not only the amazing concerts, but the 4 hour (so far) hang in the hotel bar.

Just tonight alone, the hotel bar included Eric Miyashiro, Roger Ingram, Bobby Shew, Scott Englebright, Jim Manley, Mike Bogart, Adolpho Acosta, John Chudoba, Dennis Noday, Mike Abene, Patrick Hession, Ernie Garside, Brian "Hard Bop" Smith, and dozens of members of this forum.

And last night, you could add Denis Diblasio and Don Menza to that list.

Seriously. It was like you couldn't turn around without bumping elbows with a legend.

And these people were unbelievably generous with their time. In particular, Miyashiro, Ernie Garside, Wayne Bergeron and Jim Manley were just beyond humble. Great guys.

That Garside is a character. I stopped to introduce myself and say hello, and I told him that I had hoped to meet him at the Boston tribute, and he said, "Well, I had a f**king heart attack." Then he looked at his watch and said, "and I'm due for another one in about 10 minutes, so talk fast."

He's the most quotable guy you'll ever meet. In one of the panels, to describe how excited he was about something, he said he was like, "a dog with two d*cks, a full bladder, and a street full of lampposts."

I had a hard time coming up to the hotel room tonight, because I just didn't want the weekend to be over.

I'm sure we'll get lots of reports from other forum members as they return home tomorrow.



Posted By: rusty
Date/Time: 10/4/04 4:41 am

It's now 2:00 a.m., and I still have goosebumps on my goosebumps. MF sounded great, Patrick had obviously eaten his Wheaties this morning, and the new pianist was HOT (now, now...I mean her PLAYING!). The setlist was standard, but MF was going higher, louder, and longer than I have heard him in years and years. He was obviously fired up by all the lovin' dished out over the past four days, and his new horn probably didn't hurt either.

The first encore was an emotional "Caruso"...I think I detected MF getting choked up as he played. But the ending to end all endings was the second encore, "Blues from Around Here" with each of the trumpet players from the past few days coming out for a no-holds-barred solo.

Finally, everyone let rip with a "Blue Birdland" for the record books. (Thanks, Mike, for giving us some volume!).

Bob Summers and Don Rader split my prize for jazz chops, Wayne for the sheer stratosphere (how about that double D during his band's set?), and Eric Miyashiro for that unbelievable POWER (I hope you guys agree with my previous gushings now that you've all heard him live).

Stan Mark gained a terrific amount of respect from the doubters in the audience (myself among them, admittedly) by turning in a performance that was just great: strong, swinging, and totally competent.

John Chudoba also impressed. I think he's the only one I hadn't heard play before, and he was terrific. Scooter showed that he hasn't lost it, and that he's got a great set of jazz chops that I don't think many people were aware of (I certainly wasn't). Mike Bogart was terrific, too, taking home the "Mr. Personality" award (from me) as the guy who appeared to be getting the biggest kick out of the whole scene.

And what can you say about Bobby Shew, the guy that's got it all? Range, endurance, soul, improv chops, gorgeous sound...he's one of a kind.

The hang was still going strong at midnight, when I reluctantly had to tear myself away to participate in a teleconference. But what an amazing four days! And not least of all because I got to meet a ton of very nice people -- a lot of them from this forum. MF fans are the greatest!

There -- you guys jealous enough yet?


Posted By: leadplyr
Date/Time: 10/4/04 3:53 pm

Finally getting a chance to log on after major computer problems at the event...

A couple of things from earlier posts on this thread.

Brad mentioned Menza on Alto, alto was Lanny morgan and Menza on Tenor. Both were awesome.

In Matt's first picture in the bar, the guy to the left in the background is John Deflon who came over from England for the event. He played on both the MF and Buddy Rich bands.

A few things that people didn't mention:

Andy Martin on Trombone in numerouse concerts is fantastic, sort of a combination of Frank Rosolino and Carl Fontana.

Alex Iles on Bone was also impressive.

Don Rader played some great jazz solos and was in practically every band for the first 3 days.

Scott played his butt off. great jazz and also played lead on tons of stuff. this was all after many hours of rehearsals....

The Bill Holman Big Band had Carl Saunders on lead trumpet. Man, he never missed a thing.

Don Menza Big Band cooked too. Chuck Findley, Bobby Shew, Don Rader, Ron King and Frank Szabo.

Both of these concerts were recorded for CD release in the future.

Pete DiSiena is a strong player, he played Tenderly and My Funny Valentine and played them extremely well. He also just killed the lead trumpet part on Back in the Satellite Again, which has a tough ending.

Most people missed the Christian Jacob trio performance. The missed MF coming in to sit in on a slow blues. He absolutely killed a double C in it. Loud enough that all of the guys from the Bergeron Big Band came running from the bar to checkout the tune.

Wayne's big band cooked too. Gary Grant, Rick Baptist, Waren Leuning, Pete and Deb Wagner were in the trumpet section. Andy MArtin on bone again played a great solo feature on Caravan. Warren Leuning took a couple of great solos and showed that he can do alot more then the beautiful lyrical solos we hear in movies. He played some smoking solos and showed that he has lead chops too.

Wayne was exceptional. He is amazingly accurate and powerful and also an very good soloist.

The Trumpet summit was also pretty cool. Instead of a full hour of 15 guys just trying to cut each other to pieces. The guys paired off and played a jazz standard witht he rhythm section. Hard to pick favorites here, but I would say that Scotter playing a flugelhorn solo (yes, Scott on flugel, what a concept!), ERic and Wayne paired of and both played some reat jazz and of course some high notes too. Eric took his solo on a "baby shew" horn. A pocket trumpet with two bells, 0one with a Harmon mute. Bogie and Bobby did I Can't Get STarted with Bogie singing it and Bobby doing his Al Hirt impression. Roger showed that he has somne tasty jazz chops too.

Then all of the guys got on stage for Blue Birdland arranged for 15 trumpets. That was crazy. Scott played the ending and nailed it.

They the craziest thing I have ever heard in my life. Give it One with all parts scored for trumpet. They were stacked like a big band. It was absolutely the loudest and most painful thing I have ever heard, and it was BEAUTIFUL! Ron King had the misfortune of having to sit in front of Wayne and Scott and had trouble playing because he was laughing so hard.

The MF concert ended with Blues from Around Here with each of the guys coming up to play a few choruses. Plenty of screaming here. Roger was crazy on this one. bobby finished it up and when he was on his 4th chorus or so all of the guys lined up in a row on stage behind him for the ending. It was totally out of control and fun.

The one downside for me of the event is that there was not enough time betweent hings to really hang out with everyone.

Before one of the events, I was hanging out with coolhorn, finchumk, Denis Noday and a few others when JL called Kurt. Pretty funny.

I also had lunch with Eric Miyashiro, Bogie, Adolfo and Nick Lane. That was fun. These guys all just have great stories and all seemed to be having a really great time.

I only had about 3 hours of sleep last night, so I am going to finally crash for a bit. It was fun meeting and hanging out with all of the great guys on the forum, I am sure taht everyone one had as much fun as I did.... no doubt there....


Posted By: MFNumber1
Date/Time: 10/4/04 5:51 pm

My first chance to post about the weekend and I completely agree with the other posters that it was an incredible weekend.

First there was the music. It was just one great concert after another - and personally I think the energy built as the weekend went on. I'm not sure if it's because I grew up on some of the newer stuff or if it's because the newer stuff just has more raw energy.

I know there was alot of controversy about the Boston event and the level of musicianship (which personally I didn't think was really the point - but that's another story), but no one could say these guys didn't have it together and weren't nailing the piss out of stuff. And the alumni bands (especially for not having that much time to practice together and missing parts here and there) sounded fantastic.

Another highlight were the films - Like a dope I missed my flight on Thursday and the first film, but I heard it was great (some home movies of MF along with his performance of Maynard Ferguson on the Sullivan show). The second film was from the late 50's and early 60's (from Newport and from Canadian TV, and even about 15 seconds from Millbrook) and the 3rd was from the 70's (including the Tommy Medley). It was some rare stuff, most of which was good quality and in every one Maynard was on fire.

The panels were incredible because there was such a consistency from players from the 50's through the 80's on two things - 1) MF is an absolute monster player in a league of his own, and 2) MF is probably one of the best human beings you could ever know. The panel with DiBlasio was probably the funniest with him doing his MF impression several times, whereas the panel with Ernie Garside, Dennis Noday and Stan Mark was probably the most emotional. MF was in the room and Ernie, Dennis and Stan each got very emotional when talking about how much MF meant to them.

Finally, the last highlight was THE HANG. Now how can you go wrong. Just imaging going into a bar after a smoking big band concert with your ears still ringing from Double C's and you find about 75 guys who all love MF. You don't have to explain who MF is or try to defend him against a jazz purist who never heard any MF except the 70's disco. So everybody you walk up to is fan who loves MF and talking about jazz, trumpet playing, or screaming high notes - OR THEY'RE A F*CKING JAZZ MONSTER like Menza, or DiBlasio, or Shew, or Manley. IMAGINE THAT - just hanging in the bar telling stories and throwing back some beers - It was friggin incredible!

It was also a highlight to meet so many of the forum guys as well. Thanks Rusty for the bash - that was incredibly generous and a great way to kick things off. Everyone was extremely friendly and I really enjoyed meeting everybody...although there was this one guy from Iowa who was kind of a geek and kept laughing at his own jokes.

Posted By: RhythmDoctor
Date/Time: 10/4/04 6:34 pm

Hey, guys, there's not much I can say that you all haven't said. It was really great meeting all of you and attaching a face to your handles!

I had some idle moments on the plane, so I jotted down a few things. As usual, it ended up longer than I expected, so I'll split it into a few posts.


Bobby Shew had too many to list. Here are a few:

Just before the final double-D at the end of “Maynard Feguson”: “Can we stop now?”
Holding up his trumpet after his valve stuck in the middle of the Maria cadenza: “Made in Japan”
Referring to the difficulty of Maynard’s parts; “Is this insane, or what?” (He said the several times.)
After nailing some insanely high note: “Excuse me, I need to change my shorts.”
At the end of the Ballad Style concert: “Playing with strings is like wrapping yourself in velvet. I’d be thrilled if I did nothing but string recordings for the rest of my life.” Just as the audience was contemplating that statement, he says, “I can’t afford them,” and the place goes wild.
“I get mistaken for Al Hirt so often, when they ask me for autographs, I just sign his name.”

Overall, Bobby’s humor really gave the event the atmosphere that it needed. He created a very supportive environment where everyone could laugh over their (very rare) clams. Every time someone hit up against his own limitations, it just became another testimony to Maynard’s greatness. But the musicianship was incredible throughout.

Maynard: Bobby Shew was giving us some tips on airstream control in the lobby, and Maynard is walking by. He sticks his head into the group and says, “Press harder.”

Maynard’s new pianist (to the sound man during the open rehearsal): “I need more bass.” The unintended double entendre drew outrageous laughter from Maynard and the band, since the bass player is her husband. I sure hope she has thick skin, because it’s obvious that this husband-wife team is going to be endless fodder for Maynard’s jokes.

Dennis Noday (voice cracking, eyes getting watery): “I love you, Maynard” This was stated by many of the band members during the panel discussions, but Dennis’s was especially poignant. He was apparently quite taken by Wilder when she was a little girl. Dennis also told of how Maynard once flew him from California to NYC to lay down some tracks for the Conquistador sessions, when it would have been much cheaper and easier to just hire a studio guy to cover the part.

Wilder (to Dennis Noday when she was a young child): “Of all the trumpet players, you sound most like my daddy.” A day or two later, Dennis went fishing for another compliment from her, and she said, “I said it once, and I’m not going to say it again!” (By the way, Dennis’s sound is HUGE.)

Stated by many: “I can’t believe we’re getting paid to do this.” (Referring to their fun times on Maynard’s band.)

Also stated by many (I think first by Menza) paraphrased here: “Maynard was so good at what he did, so secure in his greatness, that he was not afraid of anyone showing him up. That’s why he set no limits on what we could try.”


Posted By: RhythmDoctor
Date/Time: 10/4/04 6:36 pm

Interesting (or boring) trivia

It’s well-known folklore in the DC area that “Superbone Meets the Badman” was originally written for the US Navy Commodores. I had always wondered about the original name. Jay Chattaway said it was “Lowerglyphics.”

In a private conversation before the panel discussion, Jay also told me that “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was recorded in the studio, but “Tommy Medley” was NOT. (This conflicts with what someone else has posted here, so I could be wrong about this.) He said that he thought “Sun Go” was the best arrangement (or maybe the best pop cover) he ever wrote for Maynard, and he still hopes it will be released someday. It became a casualty of Columbia execs’ grand plan to exceed the typical 10,000 units sold by having Maynard divert into an all-star dance-fusion genre (i.e. Primal Scream). He also mentioned “Shanti Mantra,” an Indian thing that the band recorded for Conquistador, only to be cut to make room for “Rocky.”

Jay was a particularly nice guy, and obviously very proud of his work with Maynard. Although he seems to wish that Columbia had not meddled so much, is definitely NOT the bitter type. He openly acknowledges that those executives’ involvement is what led to the Rocky success.

More Primal Scream trivia: The radio on the cover is tuned to New York’s jazz station (at the time). However, after the release, the station changed to a country format, which Jay said gave new significance to the gorilla fist smashing through the radio.


Posted By: RhythmDoctor
Date/Time: 10/4/04 6:37 pm

Menza did not have a part for one chart, so he said he’d fake it. He proceeded to pose, with all sorts of silly faces, for most of the piece.

I got a kick out of the panic stricken looks, and crazy hand signals, between Roger Ingram and Bobby Shew during “Stella by Starlight.” Because they were trading off so many parts, and some guys sitting out on certain charts, they did not realize until after they kicked it off that NOBODY had the lead part. Roger started digging through his book and couldn’t find it. Bobby was on the opposite end of the section, and the guys in between them were playing their parts, so they’re trying to make hand signals to each other to figure out what’s going on.

The “Ballad Style” concert was definitely a classy touch. They brought in strings, horns, and woodwinds to recreate the original charts as recorded. Ernie Garside had stored nine of the manuscripts at his home. It really gave me a great appreciation for the difficulty of Maynard’s parts, which frequently went down to G below low C. Seeing these guys working to get a nice tone down there was a real treat. I think Roger’s nose touched his mouthpiece shank a couple times!

But the best moment from that concert came when Roger kicked off “Born Free.” I always thought that was a great opener for the album, because the in-your-face lip trills are so unmistakably Maynard. Roger hit those lip trills, and the violinist on the far left (right next to Bobby) immediately turned around with this exasperated look on his face that said, “What the h*ll was that?” Afterwards Bobby told me he got a kick out of seeing that.


Posted By: RhythmDoctor
Date/Time: 10/4/04 6:38 pm

The film of Maynard doing “Danny Boy” brought tears to my eyes. The musicianship on those early films was astounding.

There was a fantastic quality clip of “Tommy Medley” live in Milwaukee from July 1976. The band was explosive.

But the most outrageous clip was from some Norwegian (?) documentary on a recording session with Betty Carter and some local band. It’s 4 am, Betty Carter has to leave for the airport at 5:30. Things are behind schedule and the producer is going beserk because he does not want to pay 20 minutes overtime to the sidemen. He asks Maynard what he would do, expecting Maynard to back him up, and Maynard gives him no help at all. Maynard says, “First, I never worry about money. The sidemen are just giving you a hard time because you’re the leader, and that’s what sidemen do.” Maynard’s holding a beer between two fingers, and swigging out of it every couple of words (hilarious!). Betty Carter’s manager jumps in, saying she has to get back to the hotel to get some sleep before catching her plane, and Betty cut him down, saying, “I’m not gonna get any sleep anyway.” So Maynard jumps back in and says, “Yeah, let’s take a few pills and play all night.”

This clip gave me some understanding why Maynard started using a valet. In the video he came across as rather hyperactive and out-of-control, like he’d stay up all night jamming every night unless someone is there to make him go back to the hotel.


Posted By: finchumk
Date/Time: 10/4/04 8:45 pm

Poston said that this event will never happen again. I think they did a Kenton event in '91, and then did one again last year, so that shows you how long it could take to get another one of these.

A few funny things I remember: Alex Iles (bone) was funny as hell throughout. At the 70s rehearsal, all the trumpets were trading off on MF's part. At one point, he said "will the next trumpet contestant please step forward." I heard he also joked that "maybe for Hey Jude we could have everyone in the audience play along, too."

At the 70s show, it was explained that there were a bunch of trumpet players on hand and would be rotating in and out of the trumpet section. Or, maybe all ten of them could sit in at once. The audience clapped for this suggestion, and Alex stood up with a look of horror on his face and shouted "No!"

After Wayne played Bridge Over Troubled Water with his band (ending on double-C), Andy Martin came out to play Caravan. He said "Boy, there's nothing like following a double-C with a trombone solo, huh? You guys have been saying you're in trumpet heaven. Well, I'm gonna give you some trombone hell!" As usual, he played great and brought the house down.

For Rhythm Method, Wayne and Warren Luening took turns soloing, which turned into a trumpet duel and eventually ended with Wayne on a big dubba C, MF style. Audience goes crazy, of course. Meanwhile, Alex stood up to start his bone solo. The applause was so big for the MF moment that Alex got this big disgusted look on his face and sat back down as if to say "to hell with this trumpet sh!t." He eventually was coaxed into standing back up and, as usual, played his butt off. Wayne acknowledged Alex several times as the person who got him on MF's band.

Ray Brinker talked about how he was to meet MF for his audition for the band. He arrived at the venue or whatever, and was drinking a beer outside on the street. Then he happened to see MF walking towards him. He threw his beer into the bushes. MF walked up, shook hands and said "I hear you're my new drummer. Nice to meet you." That was the "audition."

Diblasio on Maynard's "policy speech" at the beginning of each tour: (MF voice) "Be on time and play your ass off. OK, let's eat."


Posted By: k115810
Date/Time: 10/4/04 9:56 pm

Has anyone told the low notes story yet?

Ernie Garside told a story about one concert that had a lot of school kids in the audience. Before the show, these kids could hear Maynard warming up from his dressing room. You know, his ridiculous high warm up. Anyway, the kids were kind of shocked at this warm up, since the conventional wisdom is to play long, low tones. So Ernie goes backstage and tells MF, "The kids are wondering where the low notes are." And MF says, "Tell them these ARE the f**king low notes."

Posted By: trumpetnerd
Date/Time: 10/4/04 10:04 pm

This event was filled with so many incredible moments that I'm still having a hard time believing that I was there and it was real.

One moment had a very personal impact on me. It was during the 70's film presentation. Ken Posten introduced the clips. As the clip started to run, it suddenly occurred to me that the band I'm watching is the band I saw when I first saw Maynard live. Ernie Garside happened to be sitting next me and Brian Smith was sitting in front of him. Caught up in the moment I leaned over to Ernie and asked him if that was Don Hahn in the video. He confirmed it was Don. I found myself watching Ernie and Brian as they were looking at themselves 30 years earlier. I realized that I was re-living a moment in my life that changed me forever sitting next to two people who were there.

At one point, the video panned away from the players and focused on the crowd, momentarily settling on a smiling, attractive young woman. Ernie leaned forward toward Brian and said 'I remember her!' He then made a approving remark about her anatomy.

It was priceless!


Posted By: tambo
Date/Time: 10/4/04 11:09 pm

I sat with Roger Ingram at the MF concert last night. After Maynard came out and played the ending of Blue Birdland, Roger said, "Man, I still get excited when I hear that."


Posted By: aggieed
Date/Time: 10/5/04 8:44 pm

One word: Incredible!

When I arrived back in Austin, my brother picked me up from the airport and asked the question that I'm sure many of you were asked when you arrived home, "How was it?"

My answer: "It was a trumpet player's wet dream!"

This weekend was by far one of the greater learning experiences I've had in a long time. I always thought of myself as a huge Maynard fan, but I was surprised to find out so much that I did not know about Maynard's career throughout the decades.

Also, being a huge Stan Kenton fan, I loved some of the stories that were told that involved Stan and, of course, Maynard's experience with Stan. I think my favorite story that came out of the panel discussions (and please forgive me because everything seems to be running together in my memory so in some cases I can't remember exactly who said what) was one in which Maynard, Shorty Rogers, somebody else I can't remember, and Stan Kenton were driving in Stan's Buick convertible in CA. Shorty and Maynard were sitting in the back while Shorty was writing a chart, and he would giggle every time he'd write in a double high C (or something like that) and ask Maynard if he could do that. That was a great story.

I think I picked up 6 Stan Kenton CD's, and I would have picked up more Sunday night had the ATM machine at the hotel not broken down (how long it was broken I have no idea). It was probably for the better, though, since I think I have enough to listen to and become acquainted with for the next few months.

Thanks, Rusty, for the bash Thursday night. I ended up sitting at a table with Christian Jacob, Wilder Ferguson, Andy Martin (trombone player), and one of the other players from the Bill Holman band (whose name escapes me at the moment). They did mention that this was their first gig in a long time. I think somebody else at the table asked them if they ever play some of the "old" Holman stuff. Unfortunately they said that they did not.

Speaking of Holman, I thought it was interesting that, at one of the panel discussions, he mentioned that he hated Invention for Guitar and Trumpet, and yet that is one of the charts he's most famous for (at least that is what was said; personally I think Malaga was his greatest achievement).

Unfortunately, I had one issue with the whole thing. I have to agree with someone else that the "venues" left much to be desired. For some reason, all weekend long, I kept thinking how cool this whole thing would have been had the concerts and panels been held in an auditorium like Bates Recital Hall on the University of Texas campus (with its steep stadium like seating). It's a great place to listen to music, etc., and there truly is not a bad seat in the house. I hated having to pretty much stare at the back of somebody's head while listening to panelists, and even worse at the concerts. I can understand how, logistically, doing this thing in a hotel made things a bit easier for Ken and Co., but I just wish they had thought of a better venue.

In any case, this weekend provided a fantastic experience for me, and I'm sincerely glad that I was able to be there for it. For those that were not able to go, it's already been said over and over again, but you truly missed something special.


Posted By: jpzank
Date/Time: 10/10/04 9:09 am

Hey, James here. Sorry I have taken so long to post after the big Stratospheric gig, but got home and was sick as a dog with a BAD chest cold for just about a week. I imagine the reason I was so sick is because I attended every concert, every rehearsal I could, stayed up too late each night visiting with as many of these legendary personalities as possible, and overall just overdid it WAY BIG TIME. But it was worth it. By the way, MATT -- great to see you and visit again several times.

Wanted to give my own personal run-down on the gig in LA... One by one.

Pete DiSiena - Excellent player. Every note he played was spot-on, crisp, professional. SUPER nice kid. Looks like he is about 17 with a million dollar smile. Will have a HUGE California studio career because he understands the importance of SHOWING UP and SHUTTING UP and PUTTING OUT. Outstanding.

Bob Summers - MONSTER be-bopper. MONSTER. Very shy to talk to, humble, top-notch player. Everyone loves Bob Summers because he plays his ass off, but never reminds you later that he can.

Eric Miyashiro - HERO #1 of the weekend. Eric is King of the MF style. Period. Others have mentioned this one or that one sounds most like Maynard. Sorry. Eric is King. I stood less than two feet away from his horn while he ran MacArthur Park in rehearsal. It was incredible. Later I asked Alex Iles to confirm what I already expected. He confirmed that Eric is as near as he as ever heard to what MF sounded like when he was on MF's band back in the 80's. But that is not why he was HERO #1. He is HERO #1 because of his spirit. He was SO NICE and SO HUMBLE. Never once did he remark in any egotistical manner about his abilities. He did remark several times personally to me, however, that he felt HUGELY privileged and honored to be included in the weekend and a bit overwhelmed at the duties thrown at him at the last minute. BUT, he conducted his rehearsals with total aplumb and conviction. He is a real gentleman and a pro. And friends, his sound IS STELLAR!

Don Rader - Well, what can I say that already hasn't been said. MR. Rader is a f__king HORSE. 68 years old and played at least 6 or 7 of the first concerts straight! Absolutely blew many of us away time after time. He had many beautiful solos, but his best was in a Don Menza ballad tune (MENZA is a HORSE as well, and funny as hell) called something like "Delfiana" or something like that. BEAUTIFUL tune throughout, but Rader played an extended solo on Flugel that was nothing short of amazing. I later asked him if he had ever played it before the concert, and he remarked no, but he did recognize the changes pattern, so he was comfortable. COMFORTABLE is an understatement. He also told me he had NEVER played his trumpet in his life as much as he had this weekend, and he never ever wishes to do so again! A real jewel of the weekend...

Adolfo Acosta - Adolfo has been praised a lot by others in attendance at the festival. I agree that he is a SUPER SWEET guy and his playing is really nice. Let me state again that I really like this fella personally. He has a super great heart, loves MF and all the other cats, and plays a really nice trumpet. I, personally, believe his TOP gig is his element, however. He played nicely, but never surprised me. I expected that he could play some jazz because of his youth playing in salsa bands and such, so his level of jazz chops were just about what I thought they would be. Nice, competent, sweet sound. Adolfo is a class act.

John Chudoba - I never knew who this cat was, looks-wise, before I met him. I knew he was on the band with Craig Johnson, but could not place him visually. WELL, I know who the hell he is NOW. John and I actually had a connection. I won't go into it here, but you know sometimes when you meet someone, something clicks right away? It was that way with John and I and we visited several times like we were best friends for years. Maybe because I recognized something in John's playing, surrounded as he was by a sea of TRUMPET HORSES, that set him apart from almost everyone else. His "SOUND." John has a SPECTACULAR SOUND. And I appreciated it right away. While everyone else was clamoring over Eric and Wayne and Roger and Bobby, I was recognizing that John Chudoba has a SOUND that is magnificent. Best high G of the gig. And I tell you what, he played a TOTALLY cool ride solo on the end of Coconut Champagne ending on a remarkably HUGE 8-count double C that absolutely brought the house to its feet. John is a super nice guy as well. For me, meeting him and hearing his perfect sound was a highlight of the festival.

Roger Ingram. Again, someone who playing I have salivated over for years. Not while he was with Maynard, but just about everything else he has done I have loved.

First chance I got to hear him play was at a rehearsal. The room was very crowded, so I blazenly just marched over to right next to his music stand and sat down. I tell you, friends, I was like three feet from Roger Ingram's TRUMPET BELL while he was sight-reading music he had NEVER ever played, music from the Roulette/Cameo years! He was AWESOME. The sound coming from that horn while he was playing lead on some of those tunes was SPIRITUAL! He is a voracious sight-reader. HOWEVER, the best part of meeting Roger is that he is absolutely totally hilarious. He had the total crowd going, including his fellow players, at all times. He was having a great time, playing his instrument and sharing his humor. And play he did. His "BORN FREE" at the Ballad Style concert was just the END. I was smiling ear-to-ear. MAGNIFICENT!!!

Bobby Shew - you know, I think many people say they love Bobby Shew's playing because they just think they should. I mean, he IS Bobby Shew, so of course he is a horse and we should all just love him, right. Well, I will probably be SENT a "horse" over this post, but I have some real issues with Bobby Shew. First of all, another trumpet player was made out to be a bad guy on this forum for stating something as an aside that wasn't very popular. I am just going to say it. I have only met Bobby Shew once before this last gig, but on that occasion as well as several times during the Stratospheric gig, Bobby Shew talked more trash than I heard all the other players combined speak. Matter of fact, Bobby always talks trash.

His playing is outstanding. BUT, he is also the ONLY one who reminds you how outstanding he plays. I could go on, but I know many of you are huge Bobby Shew fans. I like some of his playing, but man, this guy has an attitude about his playing and his students, and it just isn't attractive. And many of you agree, you have said as much, but you just feel it is politically correct not to say so. Well, I have said it. Bobby's "Maynard Feguson" and "What's New" were nicely played. Been nice, however, if he hadn't reminded us numerous times how difficult they were. And the stuck valve schtick? -> give me a break.....

Denis Noday. He was there. Played nicely. Nothing you haven't heard at any top-quality college band. But Denis needs a dose of "humble" and a dose of "class." Standing in front of Maynard and a twenty other former MF trumpet players and telling a story how MF's daughter told him, "you sound more like my daddy than any other trumpet player I know." was TOTALLY out-of-line and totally without class. I felt ashamed for him. Does play Maria pretty nicely, but still, come on, be humble, man.

Mike Bogart. HERO #2. Mike Bogart. So, really, who really remembers Mike being anything special with MF's band? Played second along with Aldofo's lead during a fairly unforgettable period in the MF band. WELL, if you had heard him at this event, the name MIKE BOGART would forever be enblazed in your head, cause this guy is a f__king horse of the UTMOST! His playing is flawless AND exciting, his soloing is as good as anyone up there, honestly, and away from the bandstand he is a perfect gentleman, humble, sweet, approachable, everything about this guy speaks LOADS about his talent and his conviction to music. I would go so far as to say he was a standout performer at this festival, as a trumpet soloist AND a superbone soloist, as a section member, and most of all as a quality young man. KUDOS to MR. Mike Bogart.

Stan Mark - Many of you know Stan and I have been personal friends for over 20 years. I met Stan at my VERY first MF concert in the early 70s and have been friends ever since. He has played with Fort Wayne area bands and has been a guest in my home. I love Stan Mark. Stan has an attitude. If it was anyone else other than Stan Mark, I would probably be the first to condemn his attitude. However, Stan came to this festival prepared to participate. I don't know what somebody overheard in a private conversation, but knowing Stan like I do, I can imagine. HOWEVER, Stan talks A LOT less trash than Bobby Shew does and nobody ever comments on that, so let's move on to his playing. STAN MARK blew everybody away at this event. His first notes heard on stage was playing Mile's "FOUR" at a ballad pace with a low, slow-paced solo TOTALLY reminiscent of Chet Baker, and then everything else grew to a point when we all heard the classic Stan Mark upper register. Stan is a LANDMARK. He came to play with the best there is, and he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them all. Stan is HERO #2.

Scott Englebright. Well, everything you have read about Scooter on the previous posts is totally true. He was truly the WORKHORSE of the event. And he is a trumpeter's trumpeter. He is a professional, playing every part in the section equally well, playing outstanding lead, even though the soundman didn't have a clue until the third night how to mix the trumpets with the rest of the band. (I will address this in a separate post) He is a super nice guy, very approachable, pretty shy, but still conversational. And VERY VERY funny. He has a great sense of humor, and cracked up the cats in rehearsal repeatedly. Also was one of the most entertaining during the forums. OUTSTANDING IN EVERY SENSE.

Before I finish with the Man-of-the-Hour here, let me mention just a few others. Don Menza is a KING. I have to tell you, after the first four or five concerts, I had heard just about all the Be-Bop alto sax solos I need to hear for the next year or so. I mean, Lanny Morgan is OUTSTANDING, but come on. Plus the sound man had Lanny's mic so hot it was PAINFUL. But I could listen to Don Menza play anything -- Twinkle, Twinkle -- and it would be total pleasure. He is a master of the tenor sax. Fast, slow, raunchy, silky-smooth, he can do it all. Denis DiBlasio put it best - "I am here, sitting beside one of my heros, playing the music of another one of my heros, in a band made up of a bunch more of my heros -- and getting PAID to do it!" Menza is also a riot. Andy Martin, trombonist. MONSTER. Ray Brinker, drummer. ABSOLUTE MONSTER, playing constantly in rehearsals and performance for DAYS, and never once showing any signs of fatigue. I would ABSOLUTELY say that the combination of Dave Tull, Christian Jacob, Trey Henry, and Ray Brinker rhythm sections is the primary reason this weekend went off without a hitch. They were all four MAGNIFICENT!

Alex Iles played a BIGGER-THAN-MONSTER unaccompanied solo on "Sweet Georgia Brown" that tore the house down. I just can't describe how good it was. Nick Lane was also great fun and you could really tell his and Alex's prowess during rehearsals. They were assigning important bone parts to various saxophone voices to cover missing bones. (There were only two bones for several concerts that really need three or four bones) Nick is a rock n roller nowadays. COOL!

Wayne Bergeron and I met in 1983 or 1984 after a MF concert when I invited he and Alex out to eat at Houlio's Mexican Restaurant in Omaha, NE. The band had played a wonderful concert earlier, and I was totally taken with this new lead trumpeter, and had to meet him. Consequently, Matt Wallace was playing at Houlio's that evening, so this was the MF organzation's first hearing of Matt, and eventually that dinner led to Matt being on the band for something like 7 or 8 years.

Meeting and visiting with Wayne Bergeron that evening changed my life and my trumpet playing. I won't go into how, but it did. Thank you, Wayne.

But hearing Wayne Bergeron live in the 80s was NOTHING like hearing him live at this event. Wayne is, at this moment in time, the PREMIERE trumpet player. I know, I know what you are all saying. "James <-- are you nuts?" I never said he is "recognized" as of yet as the PREMIERE trumpet player. I just said he IS the PREMIERE trumpet player. There is no one living that can do what Wayne Bergeron can do with a trumpet. NO ONE.

Wayne has perfection, yes, and some have commented that because he is so perfect he lacks excitement. Come again? What exactly does that mean? Sloppiness is exciting? Now I know why so many people like Bobby Shew's playing...

Wayne IS perfection, but he is also TOTAL excitement. His high chops are unmatched, even by Miyashiro, and Eric would totally agree with me. His jazz chops are absolutely STUNNING. I mean, I really was "thrown on the floor" flabergasted by how hard this guy be-bops! His soloing is approaching Summers, and dare-I-say, Rader, for quality and imagination. He OWNS the trumpet, every register, every nuance, every style, every not, low G# to Double E and beyond. He played everything he played with total ease and musicality. He isn't Maynard, and never will be, but he is WAYNE BERGERON, and two or three years from now he will be on everyone's lips as the PREMIERE trumpet player living today. With a bit of marketing, Wayne Bergeron could easily topple Arturo, Chris Botti, etc etc etc as the number one trumpet star recorded today. He just needs to be recorded and marketed. By-the-way, if you don't own his first recording, "You Call This A Living," buy it. But two copies, cause you are gonna wear the first one out.

Well, there you have it. My take on the Trumpet Players of the Stratospheric Festival. Oh yes, Maynard sounds great on his new Monette too! Don't send me pipebombs if you are Bobby Shew fans. I love this Forum! James Z.


Now go see the pics!