Custom Maynard Ferguson Tribute Print Sales Benefit Maynard Ferguson Institute for Jazz Studies
February 2007

For questions or ordering contact Will directly at

TonalityIt is with great pride that I announce the completion of my "Tonality" project paying tribute to my lifelong idol Maynard Ferguson. As you may recall this project started nearly two years ago as a way for me to give something back to for the years of inspiration that Maynard has given me. Were it not for the incredible generosity of Kevin Seeley I would never have been able to finish it. Some of these charts are nearly impossible to find and I had to purchase several that I could not find elsewhere. First, a little background:

Several years ago I was shown a lighting technique by photographic master Lee Varis called "False Color". As a special effects photographer for over 20 years I was impressed with technical aspects of the effect but at the time I could not see a practical application for it. For many years I have kept "pet projects" in the back of my mind, one of which was to do a piece in tribute to one of my artistic mentors, Maynard Ferguson.

In 1981 or so Maynard donated one of his personal trumpets to a charity auction benefiting the Jazz Educators Association and I was fortunate enough to win the auction and I still have the horn to this day. Also about that time, I went to see Maynard perform at the Metro Technical School in Kansas City, MO and I met a fellow about my age who told me he was some to be Maynard's tour manager. He gave me his red foil embossed card (which I still have) and he stuck around for a few years as well; Ed Sargent. Over the next 25 years I saw Maynard play dozens of times and at nearly every show I would run into Ed, (sometimes he remembered me, sometimes not but he was always gracious and friendly, how he kept track of so many fans I'll never know) and chat about the Maynard and the band. On several occasions Ed arranged for me to meet the great man and in 1995 Maynard asked me what I was doing for a living and I mentioned that although I was still doing effects photography, I have started teaching digital imaging. Maynard made a comment that has changed my life forever, it's the reason I am an educator today. He said "Will, you should focus on teaching, what is the use of having skills if you can't pass them on to someone else?" Then and there I decided to create a piece of art honoring Maynard for his endless work as a jazz educator. I just wasn't sure what kind of piece I wanted to do.

In October of 2003 I had the pleasure of seeing Maynard perform at the Touhill Center in St. Louis, a celebration of Maynard's 75th birthday. Many of Maynard's alumni played as well as Arturo Sandoval and it was and amazing night. At the backstage party I had the good fortune to meet another of my long time idols Denis DiBlasio, Maynard's former music director and founder of the Maynard Ferguson Institute for Jazz Studies at Rowan University. He and I discussed the possibility of my doing a couple of pieces of artwork for the school. Denis explained to me that although Rowan University did have the MFIJS, it remained largely unfunded as any contributions to the institute were put into the general fund and only about $1000 were in the MFIJS endowment. Given the enormous amount that Maynard has given the world of Jazz and Jazz education I decided to explore the creation of a limited edition art piece to raise money for the institute. Denis put me in touch with Maynard's business manager at the time and the project was immediately shelved by her as other, more pressing projects were given priority. In 2004 I saw Maynard perform in Cherry Hill, NJ and Ed mentioned that Maynard would be doing another recording, possibly a live album in the next year and that we should keep in touch about the MFIJS project. Backstage at Final´┐Ż in St. Louis, Thanksgiving weekend of 2005, Ed arranged for Maynard to autographed his donated horn for me. When Maynard signed my horn and he realized which horn he was signing he leaned toward me and laughed "I wondered what ever happened to this thing, I hope me signing this doesn't kill my new endorsement deal with Dave Monette". It is one of the most cherished moments in my life and have the horn displayed in my library. I mentioned to Ed that I was still interested in doing some artwork for Maynard and in Early spring of 2006 Ed asked if I would put together a few concepts for CD covers. With the MF Horn 6 album late into the production cycle my concepts seemed more appropriate for Maynard's next studio album to be recorded in late summer of 2006.

Ed put me in touch with Dave Monette in an attempt to get my hands on one of Maynard's trumpets to be photographed. Dave Monette told me that Maynard's horn's were 24k gold plated and that lead time was in excess of 6 months for a horn. To thwart the long lead time Dave sent his shop horn to be cleaned up and plated and FedEx'ed to me (at his expense!!! ) to photograph for the cover of the new studio album. I shot the thing from every imaginable angle using the false color technique from years ago and sent it back the same day I received it. Getting one shot at an image always make me nervous but the results were amazing. I sent the concept images off to Ed and he presented them to Maynard. The Boss loved them but I mentioned that the images were not complete. Ed and I talked several times over the next few months planning for me to spend some time with the band on the tour bus to take some candid shot for the inside covers of the studio CD. I was to meet up with the band after the Las Vegas gig in September. Gabriel had other plans.

When the world lost Maynard on August 23, 2006 a great part of my life was lost as well. Maynard was my greatest artistic inspiration, no matter what the circumstances the show always went on and even when Maynard was under the weather, even in a wheelchair, he knocked the audiences out with his power, fire and energy. With the sudden turmoil of Maynard's loss, the Ferguson family decided to go in another direction with the new, and yet unreleased studio album, cover so I have decided to continue the project n my own. After months of designing, searching and reworking "Tonality" is finished.

Photograph Maynard's trumpet in a way that captures the aura and colorful styles of Maynard and his music. I wanted the background to reflect the colors of the trumpet, almost as though the aura of the horn was infusing the music itself. For the background, I wanted to use Maynard's most significant charts. These were the charts that changed my life, from different era's. I wanted people to see the charts as Maynard had played them.

This image was to be BIG, really big. I wanted to be able to read the music and see the grain in the gold on the horn. The image of the horn was captured digitally in three separate shots. The final file, with all layers (101 of them) weighed in at a whopping 1.6 gigabytes. The final digital file was output to the finest photographic paper available, archival photographs to capture the true colors of the image, something inkjet simply can't do. I did not want my art to fade two years from now as most, even the finest inkjet prints are prone to do. A Durst Lambda photographic printer was used to create the final 24" x 24" custom photographs, which by it's very nature is a considerably more expensive way to produce images.

Each of the 100 original custom prints will be numbered and signed by me and sold at a price of $125 ea. All profits, above the cost of the photographic printing and shipping will be donated to the Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz Studied at Rowan University in the name of each purchaser. I will except no compensation of any kind for this image. I see it as a small repayment for a lifetime of inspiration and enjoyment that Maynard gave me. My goal is to raise $10,000 for the institute.

Maynard gave his entire life to the world of music, I personally will never be able to fully repay Maynard's generosity, inspiration and kindness toward me so let's call this a down payment.

Kindest regards,

Will Hammond

For questions or ordering contact Will directly at