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Canadian Heritage

Maynard Ferguson


Maynard Ferguson (trumpeter, bandleader) was born Walter Maynard Ferguson on May 4, 1928 in Verdun, Quebec and passed away August 23, 2006 in Ventura, California. Ferguson was best known for his accuracy and power playing in the high register and for choosing up and coming musicians for his bands. He was considered a prodigy, taking up violin and piano at the age of 4 and appearing on CBC radio as a teen. He later moved to the U.S. where his career took off playing with Stan Kenton in the 1950s then went on to form several groups as bandleader and fostering such talents as Joe Zawinul, Joe Farrell and Slide Hampton and evolving from big bands and bop to fusion. In addition to several appearances on Canadian television he appeared on some 46 movie soundtracks including the hit single “Gonna Fly Now” from “Rocky.” In 1992 he was inducted into the Downbeat Hall of Fame, the Juno Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Order of Canada in 2003.