Maynard Ferguson (tp, v-tb), John Bello, Joe Burnett (tp), Bob Burgess, Jimmy Cleveland (tb), Anthony Ortega (as), Jimmy Ford (as, ts), Willie Maiden (ts), Tate Houston (bs), Bobby Timmons (p), Richard Evans (b), Larry Bunker (d), Irene Kral (vcl)
Reference: FSRCD 462
Bar code: 8427328604628
From March 1, 1957, when the Ferguson band on this CD was organized and went on the road, it had not had a layoff before these recordings. Ferguson astutely identified what may have been the most potent reason for his band's prosperity: It's very important that anybody who has anything to say on his instrument be allowed to say it in a band. That's why having 12 men in the band has made it easier to make everyone happier than would have been the case if I'd had 18. The group gets a virile sound, playing crisply, musically and with fire, with some of the main excitement deriving from the full ensemble and section passages. And adding to this quality of excitement is the individual calibre and energy of his young soloists, along with that of the leader, who blows excellent valve trombone and trumpet.
"After his specially assembled "Birdland Dreamband" broke up, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson put together a regular big band that would exist for the next decade. This Mercury LP features his 13-piece unit at a time that it featured trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, Willie Maiden on tenor, altoists Jimmy Ford and Anthony Ortega, pianist Bobby Timmons and singer Irene Kral; the latter is heard on four of the dozen standards that make up the album. The arrangements are by Maiden, Al Cohn, Bill Holman and Ernie Wilkins and they show off the talented orchestra and its memorable leader quite well."
Scott Yanow —All Music Guide