STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Terell Stafford Sampler


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As mentioned earlier here in this space, it's been a good fall season in St. Louis for fans of jazz trumpet, with gigs from the likes of Terence Blanchard, Wynton Marsalis, Christan Scott and Mike Metheny already completed and more to come.

More specifically, last week we featured some videos of the sextet of Taylor Ho Bynum (technically a cornetist, not a trumpeter), who will be here next Saturday to perform at Luminary Center for the Arts. Today, let's take a look and a listen to Terell Stafford, who's coming back to St. Louis to perform this Wednesday, October 31 through Saturday November 3 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Stafford has played in St. Louis a number of times in the last few years, most recently in March at the Bistro with drummer Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts. Born in Miami and raised in Chicago and Silver Spring, Maryland, he earned degrees in music education at the University of Maryland and classical trumpet performance at Rutgers University before beginning his professional career.

In addition to performing with his own groups and Arts & Crafts, Stafford has played with well-known jazz musicians including Benny Golson, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, the Jon Faddis Orchestra, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and the Clayton Brothers Quintet. He can be heard on more than 90 albums as a sideman, and has recorded six albums as a leader, the most recent of which, This Side of Strayhorn, came out in 2011 on the St. Louis based MAXJAZZ label. The album, which explores some of the compositions of Duke Ellington's longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn, was Stafford's first to hit the Billboard charts and reached number one on JazzWeek's Jazz Radio Report.

Formerly a faculty member at the Julliard Institute of Jazz Studies in NYC, Stafford now serves as director of jazz studies and chair of instrumental studies at Temple University in Philadelphia and as a member of the board of the Jazz Education Network. In keeping with his interest in education, while he's in St. Louis to play at the Bistro, Stafford also will present a workshop at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, November 3 at Saxquest. He'll be accompanied by Eric Slaughter on guitar, Marty Morrison on drums, and Jeff Anderson on bass, and the event is free and open to the public.

Back at the Bistro, Stafford is expected to play material from his Strayhorn tribute, but unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of online video documenting previous performances of those songs. So instead, we've got a sampler of Stafford playing in a variety of jazz styles, starting with the first video above, in which he demonstrates his considerable skills playing a ballad at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival earlier this year.

Down below, there's a clip of Stafford playing the standard “Taking a Chance on Love" back in 2006 at the Jazz Baltica festival, fronting a band with saxophonist Tim Warfield, bassist Martin Wind, Matt Wilson on drums and the formidable Mulgrew Miller on piano.

We fast-forward a couple of years for the next clip, a rendition of the hard-boppish “Berda's Bounce" recorded in 2008 at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis with Warfield, Bruce Barth on piano, Phil Palombi on bass, and Dana Hall on drums.

In the fourth clip, we're back in 2012 as Stafford teams up with Chady Eby (tenor saxophone), Peter Edwards (piano), Rodney Whitaker (bass), and Jerome Jennings (drums) to play the New Orleans chestnut “Second Line" at Trinity Church in London.

Below that are a couple of clips providing additional insight into Stafford's playing. The first documents a recording session for saxophonist Paul Carr's album Standard Domain, and shows Stafford soloing on four different takes of pianist Joey Calderazzo's “Bye George." The sixth and final clip features a brief interview Stafford did earlier this year in Vancouver, in which he talks about his approach to music and the Strayhorn project.

For more, you can hear Stafford and his quintet performing material from This Side of Strayhorn on this NPR broadcast, recorded last year at NYC's Village Vanguard. The trumpeter also talks about the Strayhorn project in this interview published last year on

(Edited after posting to fix a garbled paragraph and some type-formatting issues.)

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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