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Trumpeter and Bandleader Maynard Ferguson Dies

Maynard Ferguson, the powerhouse trumpeter and bandleader who helped carry the big-band torch into the new millenium and was known to pop-culture buffs for his version of “Gonna Fly Now,” Bill Conti’s Rocky theme, died Wednesday of kidney failure. He was 78.

An exciting performer who toured nonstop and garnered a large following of student musicians through his frequent high-school performances, Ferguson had just returned home to California after several sold-out concerts in July at the Blue Note in New York City. Ferguson had also recently completed recording a new album at Bennett Studios in Englewood, N.J.

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