Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

187

Terell Stafford: This Side of Strayhorn

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Some music just stands out from the crowd, and certainly Billy Strayhorn's tunes do exactly that. What would the great composer/bandleader Duke Ellington have been without his collaborator? He still certainly would have been considered one of the America's greatest artists, but it's hard to imagine an Ellington "greatest hits" offering—if one could be achieved, considering the Duke's immense output—without Strayhorn's gorgeous and familiar "Lush Life," "Take the 'A' Train," "Lotus Blossom," or "Chelsea Bridge."

This Side of Strayhorn is trumpeter Terell Stafford's heartfelt tribute to Ellington's indispensable partner. The set is made up of a batch of familiar Strayhorn music, as well as some lesser-known gems that shine brightly in the hands of Stafford and his marvelous ensemble. Stafford's working quintet turns in a well-lubricated effort, burning down the house on the opener, "Raincheck." Stafford and saxophonist Tim Warfield trade stretched-out solos throughout, with the leader giving a sizzle to the melody, the sax relaxing into a snappy groove, on the bright and upbeat melody that rides high inside the rhythm section's fluid momentum, until pianist Bruce Barth—who arranged all the tunes—slips into a crisp Ellingtonian piano solo.

"Smada" has a more relaxed feeling. Warfield's solo is warm and laidback, a no-worries-in-the-world affair in front of a saucy backdrop. Then Stafford takes his turn, gliding in with a gorgeous tone and a velvet flow of notes. "Lush Life," one of Strayhorn's most distinctive and best-loved tunes, unfolds in a patient way, in the loveliest fashion, a familiar forlorn lament that sounds timeless in this spare arrangement. "Multiclored Blue" recalls 1940s Ellington, with Stafford blowing jungle cat sassy with his mute, while Warfield goes down low, as cool as can be, the way Ellington's star tenor man Ben Webster always did. "Lana Turner," a lesser-known composition, has a high class dynamic with a bit of slinkiness slipped in, and a jewel of a Warfield sax solo that is smoldering and a little gruff.

This Side of Strayhorn rides out on the upbeat and tangy "Johnny Come Lately," a swinging close to an excellent tribute one of America's finest tunesmiths.

Track Listing: Raincheck; Smada; My Little Brown Book; Lush Life; Multicolored Hue; U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group); Lana Turner; Day Dream; Johnny Come Lately.

Personnel: Terell Stafford: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tim Warfield: tenor and soprano saxophones; Bruce Barth: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Dana Hall: drums.

Title: This Side of Strayhorn | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: MAXJAZZ

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb26Tue
Tuesday, 8:30 pm - TERELL STAFFORD QUINTET
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Feb26Tue
Tuesday, 10:30 pm - TERELL STAFFORD QUINTET
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Feb27Wed
Wednesday, 8:30 pm - TERELL STAFFORD QUINTET
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Feb27Wed
Wednesday, 10:30 pm - TERELL STAFFORD QUINTET
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Feb28Thu
Thursday, 8:30 pm - TERELL STAFFORD QUINTET
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Feb28Thu
Thursday, 10:30 pm - TERELL STAFFORD QUINTET
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Mar1Fri
Friday, 8:30 pm - TERELL STAFFORD QUINTET
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read The Gleaners Album Reviews
The Gleaners
By Karl Ackermann
February 17, 2019
Read God Is Not A Terrorist Album Reviews
God Is Not A Terrorist
By Chris May
February 17, 2019
Read Inner Rhyme Album Reviews
Inner Rhyme
By Hrayr Attarian
February 17, 2019
Read Yuna Album Reviews
Yuna
By Glenn Astarita
February 17, 2019
Read Places Album Reviews
Places
By Andrew J. Sammut
February 17, 2019
Read Barriers Album Reviews
Barriers
By Karl Ackermann
February 16, 2019
Read Fractal Guitar Album Reviews
Fractal Guitar
By John Kelman
February 16, 2019