Terell Stafford, trumpet and flugelhorn; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Derrick Hodge, acoustic and electric bass; Dana Hall, drums; Steve Wilson, alto and soprano saxophone; Dick Oatts, alto saxophone; Jesse Davis, alto saxophone; Harry Allen, tenor saxophone
This sounds good from the start; backed by a stellar line up, Stafford struts out with a clear, beautifully toned trumpet voice in "Soft Winds". Stylistically impressive he sings with a freshness and agility; this man is alive. These are good, musical tracks; a rousing opening from Mulgrew Miller for the traditional "He Knows How Much You Can Bear", flugelhorn and alto saxophone take us through this hymn with care and quality. "Berda's Bounce" the third piece in what Terell calls his New Beginnings Suite, starts again with a romping piano from Mulgrew Miller, a fine upbeat number dedicated to Terell's new bride, Roberta; sounds like things are going very well. A change of mood in "Blame It On My Youth", taking up the softer flugelhorn he demonstrates breath control and exquisite long note playing in this gentle piece. Everyone gets a good bite at the cherry in this CD; Miller exults in his chances and all the saxophones impress when their turn comes. The set rounds off with "Kumbaya", both Terell and Steve Wilson on soprano saxophone have a good time with this. We do not get enough good trumpet leads; in fact we do not seem to get enough of the trumpet at all these days; in the hands of an artist it sparkles like no other horn can; and Terell Stafford is one of a small number who can shoulder this responsibility. An excellent CD.
by Ferdinand Maylin
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