Terell Stafford: This Side of Strayhorn
Terell Stafford on Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Tim Warfield on Soprano and Tenor Saxophone
Bruce Barth on Piano
Peter Washington on Bass
Dana Hall on Drums
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 1, 2013
This CD is a refined and classy interpretation of nine Billy Strayhorn ballads, one co-composed with Duke Ellington (“Smada”), and one other co-composition below. Terell Stafford, shifting between trumpet and flugelhorn, is joined by renowned artists on soprano and tenor sax, piano, bass, and drums. John Clayton produced this homage to Billy Strayhorn and his repertoire, with Bruce Barth arranging each track for superb, sophisticated listening. Kudos to all.
#4 – Lush Life – Composed by Billy Strayhorn. Bruce Barth opens this track with sumptuous piano intonations, leading the listener forward into Stafford’s brassy, cognac smooth theme. Lush is but an understatement, as Peter Washington on bass and Dana Hall on drums give this ballad urbane and sumptuous seasoning.
#5 – Multicolored Blue – Composed by Billy Strayhorn. This track is mesmerizing, with sax and muted trumpet joining piano, bass, and drums, for one of the loveliest melodies ever. Stafford plays with the mute for retro glamour and pizzazz, while Tim Warfield takes the theme to rapturous results. When Barth completes his solo, Stafford and Warfield join for full orchestral effect, before Stafford closes with muted panache.
#7 – Lana Turner – Composed by Billy Strayhorn. Stafford and Warfield join brassy force, once again, in this tonal homage to the sensational screen star. Barth waxes New Orleans style in piano trills and flourishes, while Stafford enchants with his velvety, luxuriant theme. On hearing this track, the listener is compelled to know more about this Hollywood diva, as well as Strayhorn’s motive for showcasing her with a song.
#8 – Day Dream – Composed by Duke Ellington, John Latouche, and Billy Strayhorn. This duo track, for Stafford and Barth, is an uncluttered, seamless ride to a day dream, with brass and keyboard merging in vibrant, mellifluous musicality. Bruce Barth is a multitalented pianist, who brings flair and polish to his performance. Terell Stafford carries the theme with mastery of the genre.