Jazz Trumpeter Maynard Ferguson Dies at 78

Maynard Ferguson.

Maynard Ferguson. hide caption

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Maynard Ferguson, a jazz trumpeter who played with the greats, has died at 78. He played with Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton, among many others. The music he leaves behind includes a hit version of the movie theme from Rocky.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson has died. He suffered kidney and liver failure at the age of 78.

The music he leaves behind includes a hit version of the movie theme from Rocky.

(Soundbite of the Theme from Rocky)

Mr. MAYNARD FERGUSON (Jazz Trumpeter): I'm from Montreal, Canada, and I grew up there and my classical training - and they told me not to play jazz, so I've been playing jazz ever since.

MONTAGNE: Maynard Ferguson played with Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

He outlasted the decline of big band music with a mix of jazz and rock. Ferguson toured for decades, and when he played my high school auditorium in the 1980s, he often wandered off-stage to let the band play without him.

Later, I learned that Ferguson brought many young musicians through his band, and when he slipped out of sight he was leaving the stage, and the spotlight, for those younger musicians to fill.

(Soundbite of the Theme from Rocky)

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News.

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