Maynard Ferguson – Color Him Wild (Fontana TL 5293) (1965)

Bob Dylan on his “reunion” tour with the Band in 1974: “The only thing people talked about was energy this, energy that. The highest compliments were things like, ‘Wow, lotta energy, man.’ The bigger and louder something was, the more energy it was supposed to have. [T]hat’s what people were accepting as heavy energy. [I]t made me want to puke.”

The misdirected “energy” of which Dylan speaks is present in this brassy (in both senses), hyper-charged Big Band record from 1965–several decades after the genre had been codified. The band’s breakneck technical skills are beyond question, but “energy” is no substitute for innovation and the thrill of discovery. This is more like self-congratulations.

Like the rockabilly revival of the late 70s/early 80s there’s something vaguely unsatisfying going on here, like solving a maths problem when you’ve been provided the answer or watching a football match knowing in advance the final score. You still have to do the work to arrive at the given solution, the athletes must still exert themselves in a violent ballet, but the magic is missing.

Cool cover and graphics on this last of the recent Hythe buys.

Published in: on January 17, 2012 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  

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