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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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MAYNARD FERGUSON

It's My Time/Hollywood

BGOCD1202

 

 

It’s My Time:

1. It’s My Time

2. Dance To Your Heart

3. Everybody Loves The Blues

4. An Offering Of Love – Part 1

5. Star

6. You Can Have Me Anytime

7. Red Creek

8. The Spirit Of St. Frederick

Hollywood:

1. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

2. Déjà Vu

3. Hollywood

4. Nine To Five

5. For Your Eyes Only

6. Here Today

7. Portuguese Love

8. Touch And Go


Fiery Canadian high-note maestro Maynard Ferguson really tore the rug from under the feet of even some of his diehard admirers with these two LPs. It’s My Time offers eight tracks that veer from disco funk to, well, disco funk. That’s not quite true. The modish simmering groove of the title track, complete with female chorus, is so of its time it’s almost an out-of-body experience to hear it. The slow burner Dance to Your Heart features a Ferguson high C held for what seems like the complete Book of Job, though it’s actually only – only! – 16 seconds. The virtuosic chores veer toward stratospheric squealing so it’s a relief to turn to Everybody Loves the Blues, with acoustic guitar by Tom Rizzo and thoughtful alto courtesy of Mike Migliore. Nick Lane arranged this as he did An Offering of Love, Part 1, a short Indian-based tune with Ferguson brandishing the warmer Flugelhorn. Soon though we’re off to Earth, Wind and Fire territory for Star. Much of this suggests programmatic jittering about, a feeling reinforced by You Can Have Me Anytime, a generously titled opus, that features Migliore once again alongside a strutting Ferguson. Elsewhere funk fusion and showboating brass solos over funky but faceless backing is the order of the day.

Hollywood followed in 1982. Opening with Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough it progresses to take on a raft of up-to-the-minute popular hits, Isaac Hayes included. The glutinous trumpet reverb on Déjà Vu is undoubtedly neither Ferguson’s nor the arranger’s finest hour, even with an admiring Stanley Clarke playing bass, though when David Sanborn turns up his muscular chops on the title track he at least brings some butch swagger to this piece of utter kitsch. Banjo pickin’ on Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five – well, I suppose you had to be there. I like Dolly but not Fergusoned Dolly. For Your Eyes Only has Lee Ritenour and Clarke on their respective instruments, guitar and bass, but they can make little real impression. It’s welcome to hear Todd Cochran’s keyboards on the ballad Here Today. The chunky bossa theatricals of Portuguese Love, with overdubbed trumpets and wispy vocals fail to impress.

The MF aggregation for these recordings featured a vast array of musicians including a large string section with some famous name ensconced on what must have been a boring but lucrative piece of session work.

One thing to note. BGO is excellent at remastering, splendid at providing fine documentation, and absolutely useless at providing easily located original dates of recording.

Jonathan Woolf



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