Maynard Ferguson set for concerts at Dowe’s
Maynard Ferguson admits his lifestyle has its difficulties.
For instance, ask him where he is the morning after a show.
“Now that’s a trick question,” the trumpeter says. “I really have no idea,” There is a long pause. “I think it’s Fort Lauderdale.”
If Ferguson’s bus has made its way through the stops between then and now, he and his Big Bop Nouveau band will play Downtown Thursday.
Ferguson has become a regular guest at Dowe’s on 9th and other events planned by trombonist Al Dowe, who counts on the high-note specialist to draw in his loyal fans no matter when he plays.
“Music education in schools has really helped me,” Ferguson, 75, says about his 55 years on the road. “Then, there are just some people who like listening to me,”
They’ve many chances in a career that has rolled through days with Stan Kenton to the theme from “Rocky” to this 12-piece little big band.
Ferguson and his band have maintained enough fans that they have no trouble finding enough jobs to keep them on the road “two-thirds of the year,” he says.
It’s a lifestyle that keeps musicians away from home for long periods of time — and become a drag. Ferguson knows that, but verbally shrugs.
“It is a different way of life,” he says. “It’s just what we do.”
The band plays practically all venues, from casinos and clubs to high schools. And, he adds, they are heading back to Thailand in January for their third visit with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the royal jazz addict.
“He loves jazz the way some guys like playing golf,” he says.
The 12-piece band gives Ferguson and his players a little more room for freedom, but it still is big enough to play some of the classics like “MacArthur Park” and “Chameleon.”
The band is constantly working on new material, too, he says. Life on the road supplies plenty of time to sharpen tunes for the next album, he says.
There are no plans in that direction right now, but it will come, he adds.
“When we’re ready, we just do it,” he says.
The band will play at Dowe’s on 9th, Downtown, at 8 and 10 p.m, Thursday. Tickets are $25. Details: (412) 281-9225.