TO MAYNARD WITH LOVE

Words cannot adequately express my feelings upon learning of Maynard’s death. Writing my feelings to all of you is some how the first step in dealing with a loss of this magnitude. The last time I spoke to the boss was a few months before his death, Ed Sargent let me speak to him on his cell phone. He was full of life and full of his comedic banter. Thanks for that Ed; little did I know that that was the last time I was going to speak with him. I first received a call from Ed  saying that Maynard was going to take the month of September off to deal with a health problem. He said he didn’t want me to freak out and hear it through the “roomer mill”. I thought nothing of it, other than Maynard needed a break and when he comes back he’ll be better than ever. As we all know life had a different plan, five minutes after Maynard’s passing I received a call from Arturo Sandoval saying he had just talked to the boss and that he had left us. I lost it; spoke to Arturo for a minute with his wife Marianela crying in the background. I Hung up and called Ed for absolute confirmation, we cried. 

From age 13 I can’t remember when Maynard wasn’t a part of my life. At age 15 his music got me through my Mother’s death. It seemed like there was always Maynard.  My first experience hearing Maynard was the “Live at Jimmy’s Album”, I came to that album as a saxophone player, and was immediately converted to wanting to play the trumpet.  I am sure many of you have similar stories.  Shortly after hearing the “Live at Jimmy’s Album”, I caught Maynard live at the Westbury Music Fair, on the same bill with the Buddy Rich Big Band.  Buddy’s band was great, but when I heard the first note of Blue Birdland, and the impact and precision of the band, topped off by Maynard’s brilliant solo, that was the beginning of a lifelong admiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hearing him in concert for the first time

 

1987 guest soloing with High Voltage

 

1992 opening for Maynard in Boston while I was a student at Berklee College of Music

 

Years of hanging with Maynard and Ed (and all that spicy Indian food)

 

It was always a thrill for me to hold the door open for Maynard right before the walk-on when I booked him in Boston – he’d blow a few hot licks, give me a big smile and then head out on stage

 

2000 Producing The Summon the Legends Concert in Boston and performing in it

 

2003 Performing a Tribute to Harry James featuring Arturo Sandoval and my big band at Ryles Jazz CLub, with Maynard sitting in the audience six feet in front of me

 

2003 Hosting Maynard’s 75th Birthday Bash at Ryles in Boston, directing and performing with the Alumni and Friends Big Band

 

2003 The day after the birthday bash – Trading solos with Maynard and Carl Fischer, with the Big Bop Nouveau Band. 

 

To say that Maynard was a tremendous trumpet player, musician, showman, king of high notes, is probably the biggest understatement of the 20th and 21st century.  In a world where buildings get knocked down by airplanes, terrorist’s threats scare us to death, suicide bombers, car bombers, the threat of world war III; Maynard was a beacon of light, of joy, where no matter what was going on in the world, Maynard was somewhere on god’s green earth, on stage, spreading his message of good will through his trumpet.  That’s who the man was, and all the newspaper articles that have come out recently, miss the mark completely.

 

Maynard, wherever you are, I will miss you and will always love you.  Your life was a shining example for all of us. It was an honor.

 

-Frank Vardaros

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