An all-star cast assists Maynard Ferguson in this disco-tinged big-band outing. Ferguson's trademark trumpet playing is featured in all its screaming glory, and Mark Colby contributes a couple of high-energy sax solos. "Primal Scream" and "Invitation" sound as though they were lifted right off the mid-'70s disco dancefloor, complete with T.S.O.P.-type strings and pulsing rhythms. "Pagliacci," too, has the disco beat pounding underneath a Jay Chattaway adaptation of an operatic melody, with Bobby Militello featured on an energetic, overblown flute solo. Chick Corea's "The Cheshire Cat Walk" sounds like latter-day Return to Forever, as Corea's synth trades licks with Ferguson's horn over a familiar RTF rhythmic/chordal bassline sequence. The final cut, Eric Gale's "Swamp," stands out because of its reggae beat.
Maynard Ferguson Octet is an album by Canadian jazz trumpeter/trombonist Maynard Ferguson featuring tracks recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, CA. (tracks 1-5) April 25th 1955, (tracks 6-8) April 27th 1955 and originally released on the EmArcy label 1955. This early triumph from the solo career of the brilliant trumpeter remains bewilderingly rare - it's an avowed West Coast-jazz classic but it's been out of print for years. Verve Originals re-issued this 2008.