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Maynard Ferguson’s Life In Music: The Authorized Biography by Dr. William F. Lee III

Quite an undertaking. Sixty years of this Canadian-born phenom’s musical life in a mere 256 pages. With little and/or nothing about those sometimes equally colorful aspects of his personal life.

Dr. Lee intersperses his spare narrative with dozens of quotes from Maynard himself; family members; generations of MF sidemen and musical peers; plus band personnels; record date personnels and song lists; a discography, and bibliography.

Somehow or another it all works, adding up to a three-dimensional look at a unique musician, on stage, on the bus and at home.

Dr. Lee brings us up to date from Maynard’s first encounter with a mouthpiece at age nine. By age 11 he could double and triple tongue “better than I can now.”

As cornet soloist on ten-mile marches, wearing kilts in 20-degrees-below-zero weather, he had great basic training to become a world class road warrior!

Having been “out there” now for 50 years, he’s still playing 200 dates a year-a work load topped only by B.B. King.

An unusual number of typos and misspellings slipped by Dr. Lee’s proofreaders, including “Joe Buskin, Big Sid Catlet, EmArCy Records, Luraleen Hunter, Lester Lannin, Southerland Lounge” and more.

Originally Published