Terell Stafford Quintet: Live In Concert The composer Billy Strayhorn wrote some of the most exquisite melodies in the history of jazz. Stafford, the versatile trumpeter, played original arrangements of Strayhorn tunes with his working band.

Terell Stafford, performing live at the Village Vanguard. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Terell Stafford, performing live at the Village Vanguard.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Live At The Village Vanguard

Terell Stafford QuintetWBGO

Terell Stafford Quintet in Concert

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/134366694/134594662" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The composer Billy Strayhorn was responsible for some of the most exquisite melodies in the history of jazz. You've surely heard some of his tunes, if not necessarily his name: He mostly wrote them for the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Jazz musicians know of his genius, though. The trumpeter Terell Stafford certainly does; his upcoming album This Side of Strayhorn interprets nine Strayhorn tunes as straight-ahead jazz, circa 2011. He and his quintet celebrated the release of this recording live at the Village Vanguard in New York, and WBGO and NPR Music were on hand on opening night for a live audio/video broadcast and webcast.

This Side of Strayhorn largely features Strayhorn's more celebrated tunes — "Lush Life," "Day Dream," etc. — in a plainspoken, tasteful style. Stafford's band, however, has also workshopped a number of lesser-known tunes, which cropped up in performance: "Lana Turner," or "Smada." Pianist Bruce Barth had an important hand in these arrangements; he's part of Stafford's regular cast, which also includes the busy Peter Washington on bass, Tim Warfield on saxophones (coming in from rural Pennsylvania) and Dana Hall on drums (coming in from Chicago).

Stafford came to the jazz forefront the time-honored way — by spending valuable time as an apprentice in bands of veteran bandleaders like Bobby Watson and McCoy Tyner. Most of his gigs still come as a sideman; when you can play in almost every setting on both trumpet and flugelhorn, you get phone calls. He also directs the jazz program and teaches at Temple University in Philadelphia. But he's carved out time for his working band, and there's a document to prove it. In 2005, a nearly identical ensemble to the one appearing here recorded Stafford's previous album, the live CD Taking Chances. (In 2009, another nearly identical ensemble recorded Hall's debut as a leader, Into the Light.)

Terell Stafford plays in the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the big band in residence at the club on Monday nights, so he's no stranger to the venerated venue. But starting on March 15, 2011 he got to move up from the back row for a week.

Set List

All compositions by Billy Strayhorn

  • "Raincheck"
  • "Smada"
  • "Lana Turner"
  • "Lush Life"
  • "Johnny Come Lately"
Personnel
  • Terell Stafford, trumpet/flugelhorn
  • Tim Warfield, saxophones
  • Bruce Barth, piano
  • Peter Washington, bass
  • Dana Hall, drums
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Michael Downes, production assistant
  • Mike McGoff, production assistant
  • Lara Pellegrinelli, moderator
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Ernie Andrews Courtesy of HighNote Records hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of HighNote Records

Ernie Andrews On Piano Jazz

Hear the vocalist bring his own special mix of energy, drama and humor to this 1998 episode with host Marian McPartland.

Ernie Andrews On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/549414757/549414978" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Patrice Rushen Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Patrice Rushen On Piano Jazz

Hear the songwriter and master keyboardist perform with host Marian McPartland on this 1987 episode.

Patrice Rushen On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/545865051/545871170" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Dennis Manuel/Courtesy of the artist

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

This special summer festival episode features a clever synthesis of hip-hop, R&B and soul, recorded live across two music festivals in New York City.

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/542780066/542781768" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Bill Charlap and his mother, Sandy Stewart. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

Hear the cabaret singer and her pianist son bring a rare combination of swing and sophistication to a session with host Marian McPartland.

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/535960111/535960769" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marian McPartland and Eddie Gomez in 1993. R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives hide caption

toggle caption R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

The Grammy-winning bassist's sense of swing shines through on this session with Marian McPartland, who joins in on "My Foolish Heart" and "All Of You."

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/533993916/533995152" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joshua Redman on saxophone, Scott Colley on bass, Brian Blade on drums and Ron Miles on cornet perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Still Dreaming: Joshua Redman's Tribute To A Tribute

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The saxophonist opens up about the legacy of his father, Dewey Redman, and performs with Still Dreaming — his own nod to the quartet his dad once helped convene as an homage to Ornette Coleman.

Terence Blanchard is the guest on this week's Piano Jazz. Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

The Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer joins Marian McPartland to perform standards like "I Thought About You" with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi.

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/530240350/530241963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top