Veteran trumpeter Terell Stafford delivers the second installment of saxophonist Herb Harris‘s dynamic “Jazz Masters Unlimited” series production, with the unveiling of Forgive and Forget, providing a forum for Stafford’s talents and improvisational skills. Showcasing a repertoire penned and arranged by Harris, the trumpeter surrounds himself with a formidable quintet that makes his performance here much easier to appreciate. The A-list of players appearing with Stafford include tenor saxophonist extraordinaire Tim Warfield who served as the first masters series feature and a musical collaborator of the trumpeter for over thirty-years.
Pianist Kevin Hays introduces the opening statement “No, No, No, (That Ain’t The Way It Go),” with light key work on essentially a waltz-styled arrangement featuring stylish powerful solo moments from the leader, Warfield’s strong tenor voice and stellar support from the rhythm players, bassist Greg Williamson, drummer Rodney Green and of course Hayes on the keys. A piece with such an impressive tone and color, it’s repeated here on a second version or a “Take 2” that’s just as invigorating but a tad shorter.
One of the highlights and keeper of this recording, has to be the bluesy-tinged “A Two-Per to Fill” where Warfield fires the opening salvo and Stafford returns the favor with a dicey trumpet solo that energizes the tune for one memorable number. The lengthy title track captures Stafford on the muted horn delivering respectful moments on a solemn delicate ballad highlighting pianist Hays and the drummer with soft brush work on a graceful piece of music.
In stark contrast to the warm title piece, “The Owl Express” releases the hard bop juices that have been percolating underneath and features the entire group in a fast-pace tempo making this tune quite irresistible. Other notable tracks include melodic “The Tint Train” where Stafford’s high-pitch trumpet play is at its best, the soft and gentle ballad “Please Rest My Soul” and the swinging finale “Some Many Second Chances.”
With over twenty-years of experience performing on the world stage of jazz, there’s little doubt that Terell Stafford is a master and Forgive and Forget is an excellent vehicle confirming that status. A trumpeter who wields the instrument with versatility and power, this one master who puts it altogether here in a master performance anyone can appreciate.