Big Bop Nouveau is a band formed in the late 1980s by the late jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. Originally composed of four trumpets, two trombones and four saxophones plus a rhythm section (plus Maynard), it was later reduced to what has become known as the "pocket big band" format, consisting of three trumpets, two saxophones, a trombone and rhythm section (plus Maynard).
To mark his 60th birthday in 1988, Maynard Ferguson returned to a large band format and to more mainstream jazz. That then led to the formation of Big Bop Nouveau, a nine-piece band featuring two trumpets, one trombone, three reeds and a three-piece rhythm section which became his standard touring group for the remainder of his career. Later, due to the increasing responsibilities being placed on the trumpet players, the baritone sax position was replaced by a third trumpet player. The band's repertoire included original jazz compositions and modern arrangements of jazz standards, with occasional pieces from his '70s book and even modified charts from the Birdland Dream Band era; this format proved to be successful with audiences and critics. The band recorded extensively, including albums backing vocalists Diane Schuur and Michael Feinstein.
Big Bop Nouveau toured the world extensively; in 2005 it embarked on a tour of eight months playing an average of two hundred shows a year. The group was tour managed by Memphis legend Ed Sargent, and mixed by audio mogul Mike Freeland. Although in later years Ferguson's playing occasionally lost some of the range and phenomenal accuracy of his youth, he always remained an exciting performer, touring an average of nine months a year with Big Bop Nouveau for the remainder of his life. Ferguson died on August 23, 2006.