By Emily Kaiser, SMTD Publicity Intern
Dr. Peter Sommer, and the Colorado State University Jazz Ensembles I and II are gearing up for an exciting experience to collaborate with guest artist, Terell Stafford, the renowned trumpet player from the East Coast region.
The student ensemble members will have the opportunity to learn from the artist, composer, and instructor, as well as perform a few of Stafford’s very own compositions. In addition to learning a number of Stafford’s compositions, the Jazz Ensemble I will be performing alongside Stafford on the concert. The musicians will take the stage on Feb. 21, in the Griffin Concert Hall of the UCA at 7:30 p.m.
Terell Stafford was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up living in Illinois and Maryland. He attended the University of Maryland in 1988 where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education. In 1993, Stafford earned his Masters of Music from Rutgers University in New Jersey. The illustrious trumpet player holds many critical roles in the jazz industry. As mentioned in Stafford’s impressive biography, he is the director of Jazz Studies and chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, he founded the Terell Stafford Quintet, and serves as the artistic director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. “Stafford is renowned in the jazz world as an educator, performer and leader along with countless award nominations, accolades and associated acts.” (Stafford, 2014).
Stafford has had many incredible opportunities in the jazz world, and even made appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Rosie O’Donnell Show, and You Bet your Life with Bill Cosby. He has played significant roles in many bands with other well-known jazz artists such as Cedar Walton, Sadao Watanabe, Herbie Mann, and Matt Wilson.
In addition to working with these artists, he was also “a member the GRAMMY nominated Bobby Watson’s Tailor Made Big Band for their album Tailor Made.” (Stafford, 2014). Currently, Stafford is a member of GRAMMY award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and continues to educate and perform around the nation. One of his next stops is right here in Fort Collins to perform beside the Colorado State University Jazz Ensembles I in the first Jazz Ensembles Concert of the semester.
The Jazz Ensembles concert includes two Big Bands with 16 CSU students each. Each band consists of five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, and drums.
Dr. Peter Sommer, director of Jazz Bands and Jazz Studies at CSU, explained what the standard preparation process with guest artists looks like.
“We usually have a guest every spring, so this is pretty standard procedure for us. Since the group will have changed in personnel every semester semester, we start working on it in the spring,” said Dr. Sommer. “They [the guest artist(s)] fly in typically the day before the concert, and we have a dress rehearsal that night and we run through the music, and they make any suggestions for changes or things they want to hear differently,” he elaborated.
Each Jazz Ensembles Concert includes compositions composed by a variety of jazz artists. For the upcoming concert, Jazz Ensemble I is performing five charts, three by Stafford – Dear Rudy, It Happened to Me, and Bounced – plus African Skies by Michael Brecker, and Candy by Mack David, Joan Whitney, and Alex Kramer.
Dr. Sommer views guest artist appearances as great learning opportunities for his students as students get to experience a different approach to teaching. In addition to the concert, Stafford will host an interactive clinic for all of the jazz students on Wednesday, Feb. 21 in room 204 at the UCA. Dr. Sommer clarified that clinics are open to all students who are interested in attending, not just music majors and jazz performers.
Dr. Sommer and Professor Wil Swindler will conduct the concert and expect a strong performance from all involved!
Tickets for the performance are no charge for Full-fee paying CSU students, $3 for youth (under 18), and $12 for seniors (62+), and $14 for adults. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to performances, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online at csuartstickets.com.