Monday, June 29, 2015


If the late jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan, a key figure of hard-bop jazz, had a grandson who played jazz trumpet, chances are he’d sound a lot like Terell Stafford. Stafford, a native Chicagoan, is in spirit a descendant of Lee Morgan. Like Morgan, Stafford playing is powerful and inspiring. BrotherLee Love Celebrating Lee is Stafford's new album. 

BrotherLee Love has seven well-known Lee Morgan compositions and two Stafford originals. The trumpeter performs with his long-standing band saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Dana Hall. How good is BrotherLee Love? If Morgan were alive and heard this album, he’d brag about it to his family and his friends. I Dig Jazz asked Stafford six questions about the album. Here is what he had to say.  

What inspired BrotherLee Love?

I have always been a fan of Lee Morgan. I presented a concert three years ago of Lee Morgan’s music, and the response to the concert was that you need to record this.  

What were some of the challenges you faced making this album?

Facing the genius of Lee Morgan, not only in his playing, but also in his compositions. The spirit he put into the music is untouchable. 

Why did you choose well-known Lee Morgan compositions such as Hocus Pocus, Mr. Kenyatta, Petty Larceny, Yes I Can Do, No You Can't, Stop Start, Carolyn, and Speedball?

I chose them because I love the melodies. They are fun to play over and over, they are extremely soulful and funky, and they contrast one another.

Can you recall the first Lee Morgan album you heard and how it affected you?

The first album was Candy, and I was inspired by his soulfulness, melodicism and energy. This was in the early 90’s.

How has Morgan's style influenced your style?

I love his soulfulness, his energy, his articulation, and the spirit in which he played the music.

Was Morgan's spirit with you during the making of this album?

Totally, his spirit is in my mind and soul every time I pick up the trumpet.
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