john rah essay

Maynard Ferguson Live
I was about as down as I had been for as long as I could reckon. In a foreign land, though it is where I live, divorced. Which was for the best. The company was going tits up. That was bad news after hanging our hopes, time and money on it. Seems not so important now, but at the time it was a big wipe out downer.

And haven finally accepted the fact that we had to close down our dream company, I left my friend's place with one of my friends, walked out on to the street and walked by a crumpled up poster. Maynard was all I could read. That was enough to have me stop.

"Maynard Ferguson."

I said it but wasn't expecting it.

And it was. In a month.

It was impossible but I saw it and believed it. And went to the concert uncertain what would happen. I had met one person in Germany who knew him. His music.

The last time I saw Maynard in concert was 20 years earlier. And his hair was gray then. His first recordings were in the early 1950's.

When he had finished the first half of the concert, I thought he was still doing fine. He seemed to have layed back a bit. Understandable after 50 years of blowing up a storm.

In the second half, he came out with a metal bell and made it go bing. It might have told me alone what would come. I had been to concerts in the 70's. After the proverbial trip all musicians were making to india, to get a bell and make a bing.

It was used as a tone to set the stage for the coming performance. Somewhere between India, North America. In a small city no one's heard of in Europe. If I had shown doubts, I would have been embarrassed before he put down the bell. I knew we were going on a trip. A master stays a master. The greatness that is greater than the man or woman who plays host to it. Is the magic that comes out of the performer. The magic that we want to believe to be real. And as long as we can hear it in a musician, see it in the performer. We can believe in things like angels and love.

Most of the everything we do in the name of knowing, making and creating comes from our dirty belief that the life in us is up to or for something bigger and better than worm feed. As long as we are at it.

Since this recording doesn't exist, the one I've on now.

How did Bushit say it.

"We ain't got no unknown prison camps, and if we did, no one's getting tortured in 'em."

I'll say. If you have any inclining for music, especially if you play it, get Live at Jimmy's by Maynard Ferguson.

It would be one of the three I'd take to the desert island, if 3 is the limit.

I just read the inside cover. Recorded one afternoon with a crowd taking a long lunch break. 1973. I've got his autograph on it.

Peter and I went to every concert in London and at one of them I took three albums to get him to sign them. A little out of character for me. I don't have any other autograph. Unless a friend or two from school.

Anyway, before going on about hitch-hiking to Toronto to see Maynard again, in a way, I'm responsible to myself to be honest. And it wouldn't be honest not to tell the reader about Maynard Ferguson.

They've all heard of Rocky, but not the guy making the theme song.

"Hey, man, that's Maynard."

"What's Maynard."

"The music."