Frank Wess And Terell Stafford In Concert

staffordBorn in 1922 in Kansas City, NEA Jazz Master Frank Wess was a ripe 86 this night at the KC Jazz Club in Washington, D.C. A few months earlier, Wess’ trumpet man Terell Stafford had brought his own group to the same room. We pair highlights from the two, with Stafford playing across the hour, on this episode of JazzSet.

Wess introduced the flute to the Count Basie Orchestra more than half a century ago. (Wess is one of the last remaining saxophonists from that post-WWII edition of the Basie band.) Together, the flute and muted trumpet are a hip combination from that era, as Wess and Stafford recall on Sonny Stitt’s bebop tune “The Eternal Triangle.” Wess’ “Cottontail” steps back even further, to Duke Ellington circa 1940, and it really moves. On his latest album, Once Is Not Enough, Wess leads an octet.

Along with other talents, Stafford is a great ballad player in “Blame It on My Youth.” His dad wrote the closer, “Blues for JT.” This summer, Stafford is out and about: in the Dick Oatts/Terell Stafford Quintet in Tunisia, at the Mount Hood Jazz Festival in Oregon, with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in New York (he’s the new trumpet sound of the VJO), with the Hank Jones Trio at Birdland, leading his own group at Dazzle in Denver and with the Clayton Brothers at the Vail Jazz Festival. School starts in September. Stafford directs Jazz Studies at Temple University.

Mixes by Duke Markos with Big Mo Recording.