Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Trumpeter Terell Stafford's sense of melody and uniquely expressive sound make him ideal for Strayhorn's repertoire. Produced by Grammy-winning bassist and composer, John Clayton, This Side of Strayhorn offers a refreshing and unique interpretation of a number of Strayhorn's compositions.
"Widely considered one of the greatest American composers, Billy Strayhorn enjoyed a three-decades-long collaboration with Duke Ellington that resulted in a number of timeless standards and jazz classics. Trumpeter Terell Stafford's sense of melody and uniquely expressive sound make him ideal for Strayhorn's repertoire. Produced by Grammy-winning bassist/composer John Clayton, This Side Of Strayhorn offers a refreshing interpretation of a number of Strayhorn's compositions performed by Stafford and his working quintet of saxophonist Tim Warfield Jr., pianist/arranger Bruce Barth, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Dana Hall. The album grew out of Stafford's involvement in an event called "Celebrating Billy Strayhorn" (held in Strayhorn's hometown of Dayton, Ohio), where his ensemble performed some of Strayhorn's most celebrated compositions as well as lesser-known gems with the Stivers School for the Arts Jazz Orchestra." -All About Jazz
Down Beat (p.64) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "He makes some broad leaps of tone and emotional latitude in the program. His flugelhorn brings a stoical and impassive containment to 'Lush Life,' even as he lightens the existential bleakness toward the end."
JazzTimes (p.69) - "[W]e're reminded of both Strayhorn's remarkable composing gift and Stafford's startling interpretative talent."
Personnel: Terell Stafford (trumpet, flugelhorn); Tim Warfield (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Bruce Barth (piano); Dana Hall (drums).
Audio Mixer: Katsuhiko Naito.
Liner Note Author: Terell Stafford.
Recording information: Systems Two Recording Studio, Brooklyn, NY (05/17/2010-05/18/2010).
Photographer: Jimmy Ryan .
Arranger: Bruce Barth.
Trumpeter Terell Stafford's 2011 effort This Side of Strayhorn features the hornman performing a series of classic and lesser-known compositions from Duke Ellington's longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn. Born out of his week-long participation the "Celebrating Billy Strayhorn" fest in Dayton, OH, the album is an urbane and well-crafted affair that finds Stafford wringing much joy improvisationally and otherwise out of these superb compositions. Joining Stafford here are such similarly adept players as saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Dana Hall. To these ends, tracks like "Smada" showcase Stafford's longstanding love of trumpeter Lee Morgan's bluesy and propulsive style, while "Little Brown Book" is a warm, cup-muted number. Elsewhere, the burnished slow-burn blues "Multicolored Blue" and the laid-back and sultry midtempo ballad "Lana Turner" are easily some of the best small group interpretations of Strayhorn you could ever find. ~ Matt Collar
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