News release
Public Information Office   SLU 10880   Hammond, LA 70402   phone: 985-549-2341   fax: 985-549-2061 Spring 2004 news releases Public Information home News archive

Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 2/2/04
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      HAMMOND -- Legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson will bring his “Big Bop Nouveau Band” to Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts on Feb. 12 for a concert sponsored by the university’s Delta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. 
      The 7:30 p.m. concert is part of the Southeastern Department of Music and Dramatic Arts’ annual spring music series, “Encore!” Tickets – $20 general admission –  are available online via at or by mail (check or money orders) to Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, 2501 Oriole St., Slidell, La 70460, said the organization’s president, Chuck Arnold. 
      Arnold said that online ordering will not be available after Feb. 6. Tickets ordered by mail after that date can be picked up at the Columbia Theatre’s box office, 220 E. Thomas St., on the day of the concert.
      Arnold, a trumpeter who played with Maynard’s band in 2001, said doors will open at the Columbia at 6:30 p.m. The concert will open with music by the university’s Trumpet Ensemble, directed by music professor Brian DePoy.
      Ferguson first soloed with the Stan Kenton Orchestra when he was still a teen, and has been going strong ever since. Known as one of the world's greatest "scream" trumpeters, he is also at home in the pop world. His recording of "Gonna Fly Now" became the theme for the film “Rocky” and his album "Conquistador" was nominated for a Grammy. His Big Bop Nouveau Band has been called "arguably the premier jazz big band on the road today.”
      While many other bands recreate music of bygone eras, Ferguson and company draw upon bebop, straight-ahead jazz, funk, swing, classical and contemporary music to create a fresh sound within the classic big band form.
      A native of Montreal, Canada, Ferguson began his four-decade career as a youthful music prodigy on several instruments, including piano. By his early teens, he had devoted himself to the trumpet and was already the leader of his own band, which opened for many of the great big bands of the 1940s on their Canadian tours. Moving to the United States in 1949, he toured with Boyd Rayburn, Jimmy Dorsey and Charlie Barnett, before undertaking his famous stint with the Stan Kenton Orchestra as the featured "high-note" specialist. 
      Ferguson's amazing ability to hit the notes in the trumpet's highest register brought him immediate fame. Before his appearance, trumpet players only used the upper register to make squeaks and squawks to amuse the audience. Ferguson stunned the world by playing actual melodic lines, smooth glissandos and thrillingly precise runs in what had previously been considered an unreachable stratosphere.
      In a trumpet section that included many of the greats, including Doc Severson of “Tonight Show” fame, Ferguson was the brightest star - and was acclaimed as the only trumpet player in the world to be able to hit a double-C on the instrument - still a feat considered the mark of excellence in the horn world. 
      Throughout the years, the busy musician has found time to invent several variations of the trumpet, and also developed improvements in design. While still maintaining his presence in the jazz world as one of the few remaining jazz greats still touring, he also has performed classical music, recorded film scores, experimented with funk, and had several cross-over hits on the pop charts. 
      The 1980s found Ferguson fronted the fusion-funk band High Voltage, which recorded two albums. He then came full circle in the late 1980s with the formation of his little big band - Big Bop Nouveau. With a heavy on-the-road concert itinerary, Ferguson shows no sign of slowing down, touring eight months a year with performances at festivals, concert halls, jazz clubs and universities around the globe.
      For additional information on the concert, contact Arnold at 985-549-5453 or