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Miami to musically inclined parents, Terell Stafford picked up his
first trumpet at the age of thirteen. Growing up in Chicago, and later
in Silver Spring, Maryland, Terell studied classical music, but was
always drawn to jazz. While he pursued a degree in Music Education at
the University of Maryland, Stafford played with the school's jazz
band. He began to immerse himself in jazz, listening to everything he
could get his hands on. "One of my first and most profound musical
influences was and is Clifford Brown," notes Terell. "When I first
heard him play 'Cherokee' I was in total awe of his playing."
Terell had the good fortune to meet and talk with trumpeter Wynton
Marsalis, who suggested that Stafford study with Dr. William Fielder at
Rutgers University. Soonafter, Terell entered the Masters Program at
Rutgers, where he received his Graduate Degree in Music Performance in
1993. During his time at Rutgers, Terell met saxophonist Bobby Watson,
who invited him to join his group Horizon. Over the next five years,
the knowledge and experience he gained on the bandstand performing with
such stellar players as Watson, co-leader Victor Lewis and Shirley
Scott, balanced Stafford's education off the bandstand. "These guys
passed along the lessons they learned from the 'Blakey' school of
music," offers Stafford, referring to the late jazz drummer/bandleader
Art Blakey, and his ever evolving ensemble, the Jazz Messengers. "I
learned how to be effective as an arranger, as a composer, and how to
lead a band, just as Bobby Watson learned from Blakey."
with Horizon led to his joining McCoy Tyner's Latin All-Star Band,
which featured some of the best Latin jazz players of our time,
including trombonist Steve Turre´, flutist Dave Valentin and
percussionist Jerry Gonzalez.
mid-1990's, Terell has been performing as an integral part of various
jazz groups led by such stellar performers as Cedar Walton, Sadao
Watanabe, John and Jeff Clayton, Herbie Mann as well as with many of
the New York-based big bands: Jon Faddis' Carnegie Hall Jazz Band,
Wynton Marsalis' Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band,
and the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. As a 'much-in-demand-sideman,'
Stafford has appeared on television ('The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'
and the short-lived 'You Bet Your Life' with Bill Cosby); played on the
soundtrack for the feature film, "A Bronx Tale"; and recently performed
as featured guest artist for National Public Radio's popular series,
"Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center." Stafford's recording debut
as a leader came in 1995 with 'Time To Let Go', (Candid Records)
followed in 1997 with the critically acclaimed 'Centripetal Force'
(Candid Records). His new CD, 'Fields of Gold,' (Nagel-Heyer/fall 2000)
features Terell's current working quintet: Bill Cunliffe/piano; Kiyoshi
Kitagawa/bass; Antonio Hart/saxophone and Rodney Green/drums.
to his work as a performer, Terell maintains a high profile in jazz
education. As Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Temple University
in Philadelphia, he also appears as featured artist, soloist and
lecturer at high schools and universities throughout the country.
Additionally, Stafford serves as a member of the resident faculty at
the prestigious Vail Foundation in Colorado every year, as well as
participating as an instructor and mentor for Jazz at Lincoln's
Center's "Essentially Ellington" High School Band Festival, held each
spring. He begins a stint as an instructor at the Juilliard Institute
for Jazz Studies in the fall of 2001.
gifted and versatile player combines lyricism and his deep love of
melody with a spirited, adventurous edge. The end result is a uniquely
expressive, well-defined musical talent who stands ready to carry on
the rich trumpet tradition established by his predecessors.
can get more info on Terell at his website