Terell Stafford

McCoy Tyner, the piano legend, has called Terell Stafford “one of the greatest players of our times” and “a fantastic trumpet player”. Stafford is a versatile and gifted player who has a unique voice. He combines lyricism with a deep love for melody with an adventurous, spirited edge. Stafford’s unique musical ability allows him to move in the tradition of trumpet playing while also making his own. Stafford began playing the trumpet at age thirteen. He was initially drawn to classical music, but he eventually studied jazz. Stafford was a member of the University of Maryland’s jazz band while he was studying music education. Stafford began to listen to jazz and immersed himself in it during this period. Clifford Brown’s renditions of Cherokee are one of his greatest musical influences. Stafford met Wynton Marsalis in 1988 and was able to receive advice. He suggested that Stafford study at Rutgers University with Dr. William Fielder. Stafford was invited by Bobby Watson to join his group, Horizon, while he was at Rutgers. Stafford’s offstage education was balanced with the amazing knowledge and experience gained performing with Watson, Victor Lewis, Shirley Scott over the next five-years. Stafford attributes this experience to teaching him how to arrange, compose, and lead a band. These are skills that Bobby Watson learned while working with the Jazz Messengers. Stafford’s experience with Horizon led him to McCoy Tyner’s Latin All-Star Band, which featured some of Latin jazz’s finest players including flutist Dave Valentin, trombonist Steve Turre and percussionist Jerry Gonzalez. Stafford has been performing with various groups since the mid-1990s, including the Benny Golson Sextet and McCoy Tyner Sextet. He also performed with the Kenny Barron Sextet. The Jimmy Heath Big Band and the Jon Faddis Orchestra. He is currently a member the GRAMMY-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (GRAMMY 2009 Best Large Ensemble, Live At the Village Vanguard), the Kenny Barron Sextet, and the Frank Wess Quintet. Stafford was an integral part of several albums, including Diana Krall’s GRAMMY-nominated From this Moment On (2006). Stafford also joined the Hamilton-Clayton Jazz Orchestra. For the album Turn Up the Heath (2006), Stafford recorded with the Jimmy Heath Big Band to celebrate Jimmy Heath’s 80th Birthday. Stafford, a regular member of Matt Wilson’s “Arts and Crafts” group, is featured on Scenic Route (2007). Stafford can be heard as a member Alvin Queen’s band “Alvin Queen u0026 the Organics” on the album I Ain’t Looking at You (2006). Stafford was also a part of the bands that were led by such revered artists as Sadao Watanabe and Matt Wilson. He can be heard on the soundtrack to the feature film A Bronx Tale. He was also a guest artist on National Public Radio’s Billy Taylor Trio’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center. Stafford’s debut album, Time to Let Go (Candid), was his first as a leader. He has since recorded six albums. He followed this album in 1997 with the critically-acclaimed Centripedal Force. His third album was Fields of Gold (Nagel Heyer), which featured the talents of Bill Cunliffe and Kiyoshi Kitagawa. Mulgrew Miller, Derrick Hodge and Dana Hall were the stars of New Beginnings (MAXJAZZ2003), which was a highly-received album. Jesse Davis, Dick Oatts and Harry Allen are also featured. The critically acclaimed Taking Chances was followed by the critically acclaimed MAXJAZZ 2007. Stafford’s latest release, This Side of Strayhorn, (MAXJAZZ 2011,) features Tim Warfield and Bruce Barth. It has been called “the best album of 2011” as well as “genius”. Stafford can be heard as a sideman on more than 90 albums. In 2010, Stafford had the privilege of playing solo trumpet with the Temple University Symphony Orchestra for the premiere performance of “fourth stream…La Banda”, a university-commissioned piece for orchestra, jazz combo and solo trumpet written by GRAMMY winning composer Bill Cunliffe, a former Boyer College faculty member. Recorded by the college’s music label BCM

Leave a Comment