Terell Stafford: trumpet; Tim Warfield: tenor saxophone; Kevin Hays: piano; Greg Williams: bass; Rodney Green: drums.
With Forgive and Forget, the experienced trumpeter and educator, Terell Stafford, proves it’s possible to pick the best of what hard-bop can offer and efficiently adapt it to our days, embracing a salutary commitment between past and present.
His new recording comprises nine colorful tunes written, produced and arranged by Herb Harris, who trusted the material to Stafford and his persuasive quintet composed of Tim Warfield on tenor saxophone, Kevin Hays on piano, Greg Williams on bass, and Rodney Green on drums.
As a starting point, we have “No, No, No (That Ain’t The Way It Go)”, a fascinating waltz that flourishes with modal inflections. Despite having been written during a rehearsal of Duke Ellington’s music, this tune fits somewhere between Joe Henderson’s The Kicker and the post-bop wallops of McCoy Tyner.
“A Two-Per To Fill” rests in the bop tradition, obeying to a pretty known structure and bringing a vivid swinging groove to the game. It features expressive solos from Warfield, Stafford, and Hays.
The title track, a ballad with rich harmonic passages, feels a bit long, but that factor made me appreciate even more the rhythmic nuances of “The Owl Express”, another energetic and fluid ride along the streets of hard-bop. Warfield’s explosive solo was particularly catchy, forcing his bandmates, Stafford and Hays, to draw compelling improvisational responses.
In “Please Rest My Soul”, one can find a peaceful graciousness in Stafford’s vocabulary in addition to the passionate lyricism in Hays’s delicate expressions.
A second take of “No, No, No” and a lower speed variant of “The Owl Express” were also included.
The members of this simpatico quintet, once in the possession of Harris’ compositions, intrepidly accomplished the mission to make them sound good. Attentive listeners will notice their enjoyment in playing together and their dedication to a genre they move effortlessly and passionately. There's something palpable here, waiting to send us back to the glory days of jazz.
01 – No, No, No (That Ain’t The Way It Go) ► 04 – The Owl Express ► 06 – Please Rest My Sou