Terell Stafford has been hailed as "one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player" by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford's exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.
Terell is one of the busiest people in the business. He leads his own quintet and works regularly with the: Clayton Brothers, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bobby Watson and Horizon, Dizzy Gillespie All Stars, Arts & Crafts,Tim Warfield Group, Dana Hall Group, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Trumpet Summit featuring Jon Faddis and Sean Jones, and Jimmy Heath Big Band. He is the Director of Jazz Studies, Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University and is the Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia.
I first worked Terell three years ago working in Josh Quinlan's band. We played a series of gigs in Wyoming and Colorado. The next year we did some more gigs and also did a live recording. Things have continued from there. The day after we played our first gig together, I drove him from Laramie to Denver. It was during that car ride that I asked him about all the world class pianists he had played with. McCoy, Mulgrew, Cedar etc. It was a conversation I will never forget. He was so willing to talk about his experiences with each of them. Although we had only played once together, I knew I needed play and hang with him as much as I could. Mentorship is not the same as it used to be in jazz. Terell is someone who still does it (with me and many others).
When I started to assemble the personnel together for this project, I wanted to feature a guest artist who had ties to Cedar. Terell has worked with Cedar Walton in different groups including the Trumpet Summit Band. When I called Terell to do this recording I asked him if he would like to to solo on a few tracks. He asked about the dates and told me he was good for the whole thing AND he would play in the section too! For me, that set the vibe of the whole session. Terell was just one of the guys when we did the rehearsal, gig, and session. A genuinely good human being and world class musician.
Terell solos on Cedar's Blues, Hindsight, Black, and Holy Land on Clockwise: The Music of Cedar Walton and they are all out of sight! It was an honor and joy to have him part of this project.
This project was two years in the making there are so many people who helped it succeed. Thank you: Abby Markley Wyoming Arts Council, Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, Wil Swindler, Terell Stafford, Colin Bricker, Theresa Bogard, Trish Schumacher, Michael Peterson, Martha Sammaciccia, Adam MacBlane, St. Louis Music, P. Mauriat, John Bishop, and the band!