Three Questions with Derek Pyle

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Three Questions is an initiative to share the value that our faculty, students, and others in the UNT community derive from using the Unique Collections at UNT Libraries.

  1. How important are Unique Collections in your teaching, learning or research?

    The Unique Collections in UNT’s Music Library have been very important in my work as a student, performer, and ensemble leader. During the summer of 2015, I requested access to the Maynard Ferguson Collection, brought to UNT in 2008, for the purpose of once again performing the actual sheet music performed by Maynard Ferguson throughout his career. This led to the formation of the Maynard Ferguson Tribute Band in 2015, which was originally a group that performed in the jazz studies course Jazz Chamber Music.

  2. How have Unique Collections changed the way you approach your research, teaching or learning?

    Many parts of the MF Collection’s songs were lost, destroyed, or never finished over the course of Ferguson’s career. For example, Matt Wallace’s composition “Omaha” was memorized by each member of the band from a single, concert score written with a blue ink pen in 1987. In order for this song to be performed again, I had to re-notate the score to create individual parts for each member of the MF Tribute Band to read.

  3. What do you want others to know about your research?

    A world-famous jazz trumpeter and bandleader, Maynard Ferguson recorded nearly 70 studio albums as a bandleader from 1950-2006. His music library grew to over 700 compositions and arrangements, which were all placed into storage after Ferguson’s death in 2006. The Maynard Ferguson Tribute Band has performed everything from big band songs from the 1950’s to jazz-rock fusion songs from the 1980’s. Our ultimate goal as a group and tribute band is to pay as much respect to the composers and original recordings as we possibly can. We recently recorded an alternate arrangement of the song “Jack Usage” at the Panhandle House and Recording Studios in Denton that had not been previously recorded by Maynard Ferguson’s band.

Derek Pyle is a senior jazz studies major at UNT, where he plays lead trombone in the Two O’Clock Lab Band and U-Tubes Jazz Trombone Ensemble. A freelance trombonist, composer, arranger, and educator, he has performed with notable artists such as John Clayton, Tito Puente, Jr., Tom “Bones” Malone, John Fedchock, Arturo Sandoval, Jon Faddis, Greg Gisbert, and Bernard Wright. After graduating from UNT, Derek plans on pursuing a Masters Degree in Studio Music and Jazz Performance at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.