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UNT Insider | August 2008 Issue | Maynard Ferguson Music Library

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College of Music acquires Maynard Ferguson Music Library

From a UNT News Service press release

Steve Wiest

Steve Wiest

A consortium of donors has purchased the estate of jazz legend Maynard Ferguson and will bring it to North Texas. The Ferguson music library will reside at the UNT's College of Music and the memorabilia, acquired by the Collins-Binkley Foundation, will be housed in a Denton-based museum run by the Foundation. The intent of the consortium is to ensure that students of the nation's first jazz program will benefit from the compositions and arrangements, as well as the historic preservation and display of the jazz memorabilia.

The Maynard Ferguson Music Library covers Ferguson's career from the mid-1950s until his death in 2006 and features works by influential composers and arrangers in modern jazz history, including Mike Abene, Slide Hampton, Bill Holman, Willie Maiden, Marty Paich and Don Sebesky.

The collection is expected to be delivered to UNT in August.

"The Maynard Ferguson library represents the written music of one of the most amazing and long-lived careers in jazz history," says Steve Wiest, an associate professor of music at UNT and interim director of the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band.

"One of the most exciting aspects of this acquisition is that the One O'Clock and other ensembles will have the opportunity to perform the music and to keep Ferguson's legacy alive," says Wiest, a former UNT One O'Clock Lab Band member who was a featured trombonist and arranger for Ferguson's band from 1981 to 1986. "As a member of Maynard's musical family, it is doubly sweet for me to see this collection find a home here at UNT. Over the years Maynard hired many UNT musicians in his bands, and I know that he would be thrilled to see his music placed here and brought to life by our talented students on a regular basis."

The library will complement the UNT jazz program's collection, which also includes the Stan Kenton Library. Kenton, a famed jazz orchestra leader, gave UNT a collection of arrangements in 1962 and bequeathed the remainder of his collection to UNT in 1979.

"With the Stan Kenton Library already in place here at UNT, it was a natural choice to include Maynard's book as well," Wiest says. "Stan's band was where the music world first really got to hear Maynard, and I know he considered Stan to be a mentor."

The Maynard Ferguson Music Library consists of 400 pieces, including works from the critically acclaimed all-star group The Birdland Dream Band, which performed at New York's Birdland jazz club; material from "The English Band;" Grammy-nominated music from Conquistador, which included the hit "Gonna Fly Now" from the Rocky movie; recordings of the 1970s; "small big band" work in the 1980s and 90s; the fusion group of the late 1980s High Voltage, material from the band Big Bop Nouveau; and works from his final Grammy-nominated CD of 2006, "The One and Only."

"I'm excited about having this music here and grateful for the gifts that made it possible," says John Murphy, interim chair of jazz studies at UNT. "It will give all of us a chance to get to know these great charts better."

Kim Ferguson Exon, Maynard Ferguson's daughter, says UNT "was one of Maynard's favorite schools, always delivering some of the best musicians."

"The Ferguson family is thrilled to see Maynard's library being launched for a second career where others will have the opportunity to study, experience and perform the charts that were the identity of Maynard Ferguson, and continue the legacy of a man who brought tremendous joy to the world with his infectious power and passion for life," she says.

James Scott, dean of the College of Music adds, "Our jazz program is world-renowned for its highly professional performance standards and for its cutting-edge new music. With the Kenton collection and now the Ferguson collection receiving the attention of our ensembles and researchers, we look forward to being just as well known for our work in the preservation of artistic traditions such as those of Kenton and Ferguson. Having the original music here gives us the chance to maintain a special identity with these legends of the jazz world."

About UNT's jazz studies program
UNT offered the nation's first bachelor's degree program in jazz studies in 1947, and the university's graduate jazz studies program is consistently rated among the nation's best. The Grammy-nominated UNT One O'Clock Lab Band is the premiere ensemble of UNT's jazz studies program in the College of Music. The band has performed and toured throughout the world, including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand and The Netherlands.

UNT News Service Press Release
Buddy Price can be reached at buddy.price@unt.edu.

Read other stories in this issue:

August 2008

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