downloadable bio can be found in press

Terell Stafford, acclaimed trumpet player based in New York, has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.

Stafford first picked up the trumpet at age thirteen, initially studying classical music. While pursuing a music education degree at the University of Maryland, Stafford played with the school’s jazz band. In 1988, Stafford had the good fortune to meet and receive advice from Wynton Marsalis who suggested that he study with Dr. William Fielder at Rutgers University. After studying trumpet fundamentals with Dr. Fielder, Stafford was inspired to play all genres of music including jazz. It was during this time that he began to immerse himself in jazz; listening to everything he could get his hands on. Stafford cites one of his most profound musical influences as Clifford Brown’s rendition of Cherokee. Later, Marsalis gave Stafford the opportunities to perform in his group Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and teach at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Juilliard. Marsalis supports Stafford’s current role as Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and continues to offer his guidance and support. While studying at Rutgers, Stafford was invited to join Bobby Watson’s group, Horizon. The next five years were spent balancing his offstage education with the incredible knowledge and experience gained from performing alongside Watson, co-leader Victor Lewis and Shirley Scott. Scott invited Stafford to join her quintet and the house band on You Bet Your Life, where Scott was Musical Director, this gave Stafford the opportunity to play alongside Tim Warfield that led to their ongoing musical collaborations. Stafford credits these experiences to honing his skills as an effective arranger, composer and bandleader; all things that Bobby Watson himself learned from his time with the late Art Blakey while performing with the Jazz Messengers. Stafford’s time with Horizon led to his joining McCoy Tyner’s Latin All-Star Band that featured some of the best Latin jazz players, including trombonist Steve Turre, flutist Dave Valentin and percussionist Jerry Gonzalez.

Since the mid-1990’s, Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band.

Stafford has been an integral member in bands led by esteemed artists such as Cedar Walton, Sadao Watanabe, Herbie Mann, and Matt Wilson. Stafford has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Rosie O’Donnell Show, and You Bet your Life. Stafford can be heard along with Bobby Watson on the soundtrack for the feature film A Bronx Tale and in the documentary Treme: Untold Story of Black New Orleans. Stafford has performed as a guest artist with the Billy Taylor Trio on National Public Radio’s Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center.

Time to Let Go (Candid 1995) was Stafford’s debut album featuring Victor Lewis, Ed Simon, Steve Wilson, Tim Warfield, Victor See-Yuen, Steve Nelson and Michael Bowie. Centripetal Force (Candid 1997) was Stafford’s second release featuring Ron Blake, John Clark, Stefon Harris, Ed Howard, Victor Lewis, Russell Malone, Daniel Moreno, Stephen Scott and Tim Warfield. His third album was Fields of Gold (Nagel-Heyer 2000) featuring Bill Cunliffe, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Antonio Hart and Rodney Green. His fourth release was New Beginnings (MAXJAZZ 2003) featuring Mulgrew Miller, Derrick Hodge, Dana Hall, Steve Wilson, Dick Oatts, Harry Allen, and Jesse Davis. He followed this album with Taking Chances (MAXJAZZ 2007) featuring Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Dana Hall and Derrick Hodge. Stafford released BrotherLee Love, Celebrating Lee Morgan, featuring Tim Warfield, Bruce Barth, Peter Washington and Dana Hall, and received a 47th Annual NAACP Image Award nomination. His most recent album is Family Feeling, a BCM&D release.

Stafford can be heard performing on over 130 albums; a sampling is included here. Stafford with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, performed on Diana Krall’s GRAMMY nominated From this Moment On (2006). John Clayton invited Stafford to perform with the Clayton Brothers Quintet, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and to teach for the prestigious Vail Jazz Foundation. In celebration of Jimmy Heath’s 80th birthday, Stafford recorded with the Jimmy Heath Big Band for the album Turn Up the Heath (2006). As a member of drummer Matt Wilson’s group Arts and Crafts, Stafford is featured on the album Scenic Route (2007). Stafford performed on Alvin Queen and the Organic’s album I Ain’t Lookin’ at You (2006).

Stafford was a member of the GRAMMY nominated Bobby Watson’s Tailor Made Big Band for their album Tailor Made. Stafford is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and they were awarded a GRAMMY in 2009 for Best Large Ensemble, Live at the Village Vanguard. Stafford had the privilege of performing solo trumpet with the Temple University Symphony Orchestra for the premiere performance of Fourth Stream…La Banda. This commissioned piece for orchestra, jazz combo and solo trumpet, was written by GRAMMY winning composer Bill Cunliffe, former Boyer College faculty member. It was recorded on the university’s music label, BCM&D, and subsequently nominated for a GRAMMY in 2010 for Best Instrumental Composition. He is a member of the GRAMMY nominated Clayton Brothers Quintet for Best Instrumental Composition, Brother to Brother 2010 and New Song and Dance 2011. Another Temple University commissioned piece, Overture; Waltz & Rondo was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2013.

Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, and Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP). Stafford is renowned in the jazz world as an educator, performer and leader and has received countless award nominations and accolades.

Terell Stafford was born in Miami and raised in Chicago, Illinois and Silver Spring, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Maryland in 1988 and a Masters of Music from Rutgers University in 1993.

Terell Stafford Quintet

Founded by Terell Stafford, the members of the quintet are highly accomplished educators, composers, arrangers and band leaders. The Terell Stafford Quintet albums include: Time To Let Go, Centripetal Force, New Beginnings, Taking Chances, Fields of Gold and This Side of Strayhorn.

Temple University

Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies in the Boyer College of Music at Temple University.

Workshops and Clinics

Stafford conducts many all-state jazz bands, some of which include; Texas, Utah, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Missouri. He has also conducted workshops and clinics with the Vail Jazz Foundation, Centrum, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Swing Central, Monk Institute, Amsterdam Conservatory, Tritone Jazz Workshop, Litchfield, Julliard Jazz Seminar and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Stafford travels the world as a freelance music educator, working and performing with high school, university and professional bands.

Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia

Formed in 2013, the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP) is dedicated to presenting the highest quality jazz to the greatest number of people and designed to preserve, represent and continue Philadelphia’s unique, rich jazz sound and tradition. Terell Stafford, Managing and Artistic Director of JOP and Director of Jazz Studies in the Boyer College of Music offers a synergy with Temple University that will branch out to younger Philadelphia students. JOP aims to become the face of Philadelphia jazz, establishing the city as a nationally and internationally recognized destination for jazz performance. In addition to embodying Philadelphia’s vital jazz legacy with energetic jazz performances, both locally and outside of its home city, the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia will provide an essential educational component as part of its mission.

The inaugural gala event was held January 7th, 2014 in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center
in Philadelphia. Bill Cosby emceed the sold out event with special guests that included jazz greats, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Baron, Larry MacKenna, Bootsie Barnes, Tony Williams and Randy Brecker.

Associated Groups

Terell Stafford Quintet
Clayton Brothers
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Bobby Watson and Horizon
Dizzy Gillespie All Stars
Arts & Crafts
Tim Warfield Group
Dana Hall Group
Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra
Trumpet Summit featuring Jon Faddis and Sean Jones
Jimmy Heath Big Band

Awards and Accolades

Grammy Awards

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard 2009

Grammy Nominations

Temple University, Overture, Waltz and Rondo 2013
Clayton Brothers, New Song and Dance 2011
Clayton Brothers, Brother to Brother 2010
Temple University, Fourth Stream, La Banda 2010
Diana Krall, From This Moment On 2007
Bobby Watson, Tailor Made

Other Notable Accolades

Philadelphia Clef Club, Trumpeter of the Year 2013
Downbeat August 2012 Established talents # 6 with 110 pts.
Downbeat Magazine Editors Pick April 2011, This Side Of Strayhorn
Downbeat Magazine Editors Pick October 2010, Clayton Brothers, The New Song And Dance
Downbeat, Best Small Group for Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts 2007
Rising Star Trumpeter, Downbeat Magazine 2006
Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Competition, Adjudicator 2005
Wake Up, Matt Wilson featuring Terell Stafford

Honorable Mention, Village Voice
MSN Top Ten of 2004
All About Jazz Editors Pick 2004
Critic’s Choice, Jazziz 2004
Top Ten, Providence Phoenix 2004
Top Ten, 2004

Named #54 of top 100 Trumpeters
Ranker list of Famous Jazz Trumpeters
New Beginnings voted #20, Jazz Week 2003

New Beginnings voted #1 CD in the Nation, Jazz Week 2003
New Beginnings selected #1 Jazz Pick, Vibe Magazine 2003

Rising Star Trumpeter, Downbeat Magazine 2003
#1 Trumpet Deserving Wider Recognition, Downbeat Magazine 2002
Four Star Review in Jazz Times Magazine for Fields of Gold 2001
Trumpeter Deserving Wider Recognition, Downbeat Magazine 1999
Hopper Management Rising Star 1999
Four Star Review, Downbeat Magazine for Centripetal Force 1998
Four Star Review, Downbeat Magazine for Time To Let Go 1996
Deane Sherman Performing Arts Award, The Arts Council of Montgomery County, MD 1996

Television and Film

Performed on the documentary, Treme: Untold Story of Black New Orleans
Mercedes Commercial with Stefon Harris 2000
Rosie O’Donnell Show, appearance with Aretha Franklin
Jay Leno Show, appearance with Branford Marsalis
Robert DeNiro’s A Bronx Tale with Bobby Watson 1996
You Bet Your Life, Bill Cosby – performed with the house band, Shirley Scott was Musical Director