Personnel: Maynard Ferguson (baritone horn); Linda November, Richard Berg, Martin Nelson, Ellen Bernfield, Gwen Guthrie, Lani Groves, Patti Austin, Hilda Harris, Vivian Cherry (vocals); John Odini, Eric Gale , George Benson , George Kish, Jeff Clayton , Jeff Mironov, Lance Quinn, Jerry Friedman, Tom Rizzo (guitar); Frederick Buldrini, Joseph Malin, Charles Libove, David Nadien, Harry Cykman, Max Ellen, Paul Gershman, Emanuel Green (violin); Theodore Israel, Emanuel Vardi (viola); Alan Schulman, Charles McCracken (cello); Willie Maiden (clarinet); Bobby Militello (saxophone, baritone saxophone); Ferdinand Povel, Danny Moss, George Young , Joe Farrell, Mark Colby, Peter King , Mike Migliore, Eric Traub, Ed Maina, Bob Watson, Tony Buchanan, Brian Smith (saxophone); Christopher Farr, Chip McNeill (soprano saxophone); Jimmy Ford, David Sanborn, Don Menza, Andy Macintosh, Herb Geller, Lanny Morgan, Matt Wallace , Bud Shank, Sal Giorgianni (alto saxophone); Georgie Auld, Al Cohn, Bill Holman, Bob Cooper, Budd Johnson, Carmen Leggio (tenor saxophone); Jay Cameron, Frank Hittner, Denis DiBlasio, Ernie Wilkins, Bob Gordon , Bruce Johnstone (baritone saxophone); Jon Faddis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Clyde Reasinger, Joe Ferrante , Alan Downey , John DeFlon, Lin Biviano, Bud Parks, Larry Foyen, Jim Bossy, Buddly Childers, Tom Slaney, Nat Pavone, John Huckridge, Giuseppe 'Loon' P. Moselle, Rusty Barker, Dan Wetly, Joey Tartell, John Donnelly, Conte Candoli, Don Ellis, Don Rader, Ernie Royal, Scott Englebright, Lynn Nicholson, Chet Ferretti, Mike Horbal, Al Stewart, Alan Rubin, Marky Markowitz, Marvin Stamm, Mike Bailey, Randy Brecker, Ray Linn, Rick Kiefer, Wayne Bergeron, Bill Chase, Frank Greene, Nick Travis, Jimmy Nottingham, Danny Cahn, Alan Wise, Bob Summers, Martin Drover, Al DeRisi, Ron Tooley, John Owens , Carl Fischer (trumpet); Bernie Glow, Dennis Noday, Stan Mark (flugelhorn); Brooks Tillotson, David Corrado, Earl Chapin (French horn); Milt Bernhart, Geoff Wright, Graham Ellis, Randy Purcell, Sonny Russo, Charles Greenlea, Mike Zagalini, Adrian Dover, Randy Purcess, Dave Taylor, Don Sebesky, Eddie Bert, Phil Grey , Herbie Harper, Albert Woods, Bob Burgess , Kenny Rupp, Roger Homefield, Jerry Johnson , Jimmy Cleveland, Julian Priester, Nick Lane, Slide Hampton, Tom Garling, Wayne Andre, Billy Graham , Kenny Crane, Tony Studd, Chris Pyne (trombone); David Taylor , Paul Faulise (bass trombone); Lorraine Geller, Ian Bernhard, Hank Jones , Jaki Byard, John Bunch, Mike Abene, Russ Freeman (piano); Chick Corea, Alvin Zavod, Biff Hannon (electric piano); Ron Oswanski, Dan Zank, Kenny Ascher, David Ramsey, Bob James (keyboards); Chris Berger, Aubrey Tosin, David Lynane, Dave Marks, Curtis Counce, Gary King, Arnold Fishkind, Linc Milliman, Milt Hinton, Paul Thompson , Phil Palombi, Red Callender, Will Lee , Gordon Johnson, Jimmy Rowser, Rick Petrone, Lou Carfa, Buddy Clark (bass guitar); Marko Marcinko, Dan D'Imperio, Roberto Pataccia, Jason Harnell, Dave Throckmorton, Don Lamond, Bob Economou, Harvey Mason, Sr. , Jack Hanna, Jimmy Campbell , Alvin Stoller, Peter Erskine, Pete Jackson, Randy Jones, Rufus "Speedy" Jones, Shelly Manne, Steve Gadd , Stu Martin, Allan Schwartzberg (drums); Frank Ricotti, Lorenzo Martinez, Phil Kraus , Ralph MacDonald, Ralph McDonald , Rubens Bassini, Ray Cooper , Harold Fisher (percussion).
The late Maynard Ferguson was one of the most dynamic, electrifying trumpeters in the history of jazz. Ferguson's specialties were hitting high notes few others could or would, and leading bands that brought modernity to big-band jazz. ESSENTIAL covers his entire career, from featured-soloist status with big bands to early outfits (large and small) under his leadership to the cutting-edge big bands he led in the 1970s and '80s. Ferguson's later work combined the intricacies of big-band swing with elements of fusion and pop, introducing new generations to jazz.