Terell Stafford Talks Awful Teachers and Rips it Up In Spite of Them

Jam Session - Terell Stafford | 130107-7237-jikatu
Terell Stafford (Photo credit: jikatu)

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.

4 Takes of Bye George

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.