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Terell Stafford: Taking Chances: Live at the Dakota

Jim Santella By

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With his rich trumpet tone and delicate manner, Terell Stafford brought his quintet into Minneapolis' Dakota Bar and Grill in June, 2005 for this well-received concert performance. They got the sound just right, and the musicians provided their audience with an unforgettable experience.

Stafford plays it cool. He's got no axe to grind, no pretense of machismo to blast forth, and no reason to imitate the newest tricks on the block. He's a conservative. The trumpeter has the chops to do whatever he wants to, but he prefers to keep it simple with this recommended album. Genuine melody and a pious desire for all things lyrical keep Stafford and his quintet on track for a timeless look at the beauty of jazz from the inside.

Tradition, a love of the familiar, and a bit of the original give the trumpeter's program plenty of variety. He caresses a mellow ballad with the same sensuous manner that he employs on up-tempo romps.

Surprisingly, he takes "Jesus Loves Me to heart with an outside approach that lights creative fires along the way. Stafford's bright trumpet picks this one up a few notches as he explores the potential of passion. It's a veritable suite of changing moods that puts everyone to work on a challenge. As is usually the case, audience reaction seems to push the quintet even harder.

Blues for J.T. finds the band scoring high marks for its powerful groove and magnetic pull. Here, Stafford shows his best side as he loosens up and pours it out naturally. If ever there was a genuine guy, this is the one. He reaches deep down inside and comes up with a blues to move you soundly.

The trumpeter's warm, golden sound resonates like magic. It's the kind of balm that brings warmth to the soul. The album certainly has its hot spots, and working a place like the Dakota Bar and Grill can do that for you. Glad to see such success for such a deserving artist and his quintet.


Track Listing: Nick off the Mark; Pegasus; Taking a Chance on Love; Jesus Loves Me; Blues for J.T.; Old Folks; Paper Trail; Shake It for Me.

Personnel: Terell Stafford: trumpet; Tim Warfield: tenor and soprano saxophones; Bruce Barth: piano; Derrick Hodge: bass; Dana Hall: drums.

Title: Taking Chances: Live At The Dakota | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: MAXJAZZ


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