My friend Brett is taking over the blog for this post. I asked him yesterday to share the story of how he played with the late Maynard Ferguson. It's a great story and Brett tells it with a generous dose of his typical humility.
It's all you, Brett:
Today is indeed a very sad day for me and for a lot of Maynard fans. I am listening to his latest album and am really looking forward to his final album which will be released later this year.
When I was 16 Maynard came to play a concert at the high school in a neighboring city. He and his band always did a clinic with the school's jazz band. They didn't have one, but we did. We got the oppotrunity to play for Maynard.
I'll never forget the anger I felt toward our director when he had us play "South 21st Shuffle," a Maynard song that I played lead on.
As I was attempting to play Maynard's part and failing miserably, I heard the most powerful trumpet sound next to me. It was Maynard! I immediately stopped playing and breathing. Here was my hero next to me playing with my jazz band.
I'll never forget it. I'll never forget what a nice man he was.
It is indeed a very sad day. I'm going to listen to more of his music.