Jazz trumpeter Terell Stafford didn’t start playing jazz until college, and hit the woodshed as hard as performance majors when he saw that the music education majors around him didn’t spend as much time in the practice room. It’s an observation of a correlation that’s been backed up by some pretty solid research, too. Still, what shocked me in Mr. Stafford’s short interview with Jazz Times was what some of his teachers told him. When I hear about teachers like that it makes me seethe. Unbelievable! It’s a testament to the man’s class that he simply states the facts, without rancor, and doesn’t have a bad word to say about those teachers. I wouldn’t be so gracious.
Jazz Times Interview with Terell Stafford
Clearly, Stafford didn’t let those unenlightened attitudes hold him back. He’s held the solo chair in the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in New York City for a while, and too many other accolades to count. Check out his discography and buy ’em; there’s not a weak album in the bunch! Stafford’s musical ideas are interesting and so much fun to listen to. Here’s the interview:
Here’s Terell Stafford playing some sweet choruses on It Could Happen to You, and the Sonny Rollins tune, Pent-Up House.
Terell Stafford: It Could Happen to You & Pent-Up House
And here are 4 takes on the same tune. I always love hearing a great player take a few passes at a tune because it shows not only how varied their improvisations are, but you can hear, right away, some of the vocabulary and idiosyncrasies that give him a unique voice. Before he plays the tunes down he talks about the process and the tune itself. Cool insight into the recording process of great players.