All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

2

Terell Stafford Quintet: Tempe, AZ, May 10, 2013

Patricia Myers By

Sign in to view read count
Terell Stafford Quintet
Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ
May 10, 2013

Trumpeter Terell Stafford and his East Coast quintet delivered dynamic ensemble work and memorable solos in a concert on the theme, This Side of Strayhorn. A third of the evening's repertoire came from the leader's 2011 MAXJAZZ album of the same name, celebrating Duke Ellington's renowned colleague.

The three lesser-known Billy Strayhorn charts performed were from his small ensemble writing, rather than the more familiar Ellington orchestral hits. Surprisingly, there was no inclusion of "Lush Life," although that was included on Stafford's album. Instead, the audience was treated to a fresh perspective of the Strayhorn genius via other melodies.

Pianist/arranger Bruce Barth launched Strayhorn's languidly sensual "Lana Turner" as a platform for Stafford's slow burn and Tim Warfield's tenor sax smears, while acoustic bassist Rodney Whitaker created a stream of intense resonance. For the classic "Day Dream," Stafford switched to flugelhorn for an opening duet with Barth that reflected the spirit of Strayhorn's meditation, enhanced by Warfield's stunning cadenza. "Johnny Come Lately" was a contrast in change-up, Warfield working his bebop-informed soprano sax against the liquid fire of Stafford's horn, the eloquent Barth exploring changes during Whitaker's walking bass and drummer Dana Hall's bombastic polyrhythms.

The evening opened with trumpeter Lee Morgan's "Hocus Pocus," featuring Stafford triple-tonguing to Warfield's blazing tenor until the pair traded fours with Hall. Barth endowed each composition with his robust agility and graceful swinging style, never grandstanding during his solos.

The second set featured "Mia," a Stafford original that opened with a flugelhorn-tenor sax duo, Warfield playing vigorous fragments, then smoothly sinuous to contrast Stafford's burnished balladic delivery, while Barth seemed to leave no key untouched as he added layers of sound.

Before playing "Old Folks," which Stafford recorded on Taking Chances: Live at the Dakota (MAXJAZZ, 2007), he offered a series of historical references to people connected to Philadelphia, where he is artistic director of the newly formed Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and is also director of Temple University's jazz studies program. First, he mentioned Philly-born Bill Cosby and his short-lived 1992 TV show, You Bet Your Life, which led to citing that show's musical director, Shirley Scott. Stafford met the organist in the early 1990s, when he sat in on jam sessions she led at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, which prompted her to hire him and Warfield for her next tour.

Finally, he acknowledged a member of the audience, legendary Philadelphia organist Papa John DeFrancesco, who now lives and performs in Arizona. Stafford then inserted his Harmon mute for a pensive intro that verified his total control of his instrument, soon switching to open style and swinging with defined power. Barth inserted a muscular block-hands section as Whitaker walked his bass line and Hall alternated between sticks and brushes; it was a simple chart, perfectly played.

Morgan's "Yes I Can, No You Can't" closed the concert, the rhythm section digging in deep at first, then laying back during a remarkable Stafford-Warfield improvisational exchange for an ear-bending end to the evening. The concert was part of a continuing live-jazz series presented by the non-profit Lakeshore Music Inc. of Tempe, AZ.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville 2018 Live Reviews
Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville...
by Mike Chamberlain
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Vijay Iyer Sextet at The Village Vanguard Live Reviews
Vijay Iyer Sextet at The Village Vanguard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Spencer Day at The Green Room 42 Live Reviews
Spencer Day at The Green Room 42
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Adam Rudolph's Galaxies at The Stone Live Reviews
Adam Rudolph's Galaxies at The Stone
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 14, 2018
Read Nik Bartsch's Ronin at Constellation in Chicago Live Reviews
Nik Bartsch's Ronin at Constellation in Chicago
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 14, 2018
Read Denny Zeitlin, Buster Williams & Matt Wilson at Mezzrow Jazz Club Live Reviews
Denny Zeitlin, Buster Williams & Matt Wilson at Mezzrow...
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: May 13, 2018
Read "Mary Fahl at The Cutting Room" Live Reviews Mary Fahl at The Cutting Room
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 11, 2017
Read "Mike Zito at the Iridium" Live Reviews Mike Zito at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Sue Rynhart at The Cresent Arts Centre" Live Reviews Sue Rynhart at The Cresent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Fred Hersch's Leaves Of Grass at Jazz at Lincoln Center" Live Reviews Fred Hersch's Leaves Of Grass at Jazz at Lincoln Center
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Amadou & Mariam At Stern Grove" Live Reviews Amadou & Mariam At Stern Grove
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard" Live Reviews Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017