Called “...the greatest trumpet player I've heard in this life,” by bassist Charles Mingus, Thaddeus Joseph Jones (1923-1986) was an American trumpeter, cornetist, composer and bandleader. Born in Pontiac, Michigan, he was a self-taught musician, performing professionally with top names such as Sonny Stitt and Hank Jones by the time he was sixteen. He served in U.S. Army bands during World War II and then continued his career, eventually playing with Count Basie for nine years, starting in 1954.
In 1965, Jones left Basie’s band and with and drummer and bandleader Mel Lewis (1929-1990) formed the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band which played on almost continuous Monday nights at the Village Vanguard. The Band became an American institution, winning polls in “Down Beat,” a Grammy Award for their album “Live in Munich” and recording a series of albums, including "Consummation," "Central Park North," "Live At The Village Vanguard" and "Suite For Pops." The Jones/Lewis Big Band was not only innovative but its players, comprising the best jazz had to offer, were able to execute musically what most bands could not and Jones’ arrangements and compositions were at the forefront.
To the surprise of his New York band mates, Jones suddenly moved to Denmark in 1978 where several other American jazz musicians had gone to live. He formed a new band Eclipse, composed for The Danish Radio Big Band and taught jazz at the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen.
A year before his death, Jones came back to the U.S. to lead the Count Basie Orchestra but had to step down due to ill health. He returned to his home in Copenhagen where he died in 1986.
Reverence for Jones’ entire body of work has continued, most recently with the 2005 recording One More: Music of Thad Jones featuring an all-star group. The Jones/Lewis band continued after the deaths of the leaders as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, taking the name of its Monday night home at the Village Vanguard in New York.
Ttemple University Jazz Band, Terell Stafford, Director
Trumpets: Stephen Palazzo (Lead), Daniel Goldstein, Danny Jonokuchi, Noah Hocker
Saxophones: Danny Janklow, Lead Alto; Wesley Burke, Alto; Tal Shtuhl, Lead Tenor; Kenan Serenbetz, Tenor; Maria Mirenzi, Baritone
Trombones: Ben Lupinacci, Lead; Harry Forlenza-Bailey; Katherine Rodda; Derek Paquette, Bass Trombone
Piano: Tim Brey
Bass: Patrick Lamborn
Drums: Carl Moritz
Percussion: Victor Garcia-Gaetan
Guitar: David Sanders
Vocals: Alexa Barchini
The Temple University Jazz Band has performed at the Apollo Theater as part of Wycliffe Gordon's "Jazz a la Carte" series, Dizzy's Club at Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Hague Jazz Festival in Amsterdam, the Detroit Jazz Festival, an 80th Birthday Hometown Celebration for Jimmy Heath and tributes to Slide Hampton, Clark Terry and Joe Wilder. The TUJB as also performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Mellon/PSFS Jazz Festival, International Association of Jazz Educators Conferences, the East Coast Jazz Festival, the Midwest Clinic-International Band and Orchestra Conferences and has won awards at the Villanova Jazz Festival. Previous releases by the TUJB include Room 323 (2005) and Mean What You Say (2003) on Seabreeze Vista.
Terell Stafford (b. 1966) has long been inspired by Thad Jones as a trumpet player, composer and arranger. To Thad, with Love, is a celebration of the man and artist and brings together many members of the Boyer College family: students, faculty, former faculty, alumni and composers and arrangers who have previously worked with the Temple University Jazz Band.
Of his 15 years teaching at the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, one of the highlights was having the Vanguard Orchestra as artists-in-residence working with the Temple University Jazz Band, studying and playing the music of Thad Jones. “The Vanguard was, and continues to be, a natural fit for our jazz program,” says Stafford. “The spirit of Thad Jones lives in the sound of our big band.”
Stafford places the experience of students playing with professional musicians at the top of his list of teaching responsibilities. “Making music with students,” says Stafford, “is as important as teaching it.” He has brought some of the top names in jazz to Temple as guest artists and clinicians, including Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Dr. Billy Taylor, Max Roach, Mel Lewis Jimmy Heath and Benny Golson.
In addition to having performed with the musicians he brings to Temple, Stafford is a member of the 2009 Grammy® winning Vanguard jazz Orchestra (“Best Large Ensemble”), Grammy® nominated Clayton Brothers Quintet (“Best Instrumental Composition”) and regularly tours with the Terell Stafford Quintet. He has recorded six albums as leader, including his most recent, This Side of Strayhorn, which the press called “the first must have album of 2011,” and more than 90 as a sideman. He was the soloist on the 2010 Grammy® nominated recording of fourth stream…La Banda by Bill Cunliffe, performed by the Temple University Symphony Orchestra and released on BCM&D Records.
Stafford is the Director of the Jazz Studies Program and Chair of Instrumental Studies at the Boyer College of Music and Dance. He is also a clinician for the Vail Foundation in Colorado and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Program. www.terellstafford.com
Dennis Mackrel writes about "It Happened to Me"
Long before I actually worked with Thad, I heard many stories from musicians who spoke of the effect he had on them. How because of his personal kindness and musical genius, they found themselves transformed and inspired to be better musicians.
After working with him, I noticed over time that in fact, something happened to me and that I now heard, played and related to music in a wonderful and completely different way. In other words, I realized that all of the stories I had been told were true and in short "It Happened To Me"!
Regarding "The Master", the title is self explanatory. To this day, when I think of Thad, I see a man who is the embodiment everything good about music. A mature, serious and yet gentle and humble man who was a master of his craft. I wanted the music to convey a feeling of dignity, reverence and respect as he deserves nothing less.
Adam Pfannenstiel writes about "Jonesin' for some Thad"
Ever since I became interested in jazz as a high school student, my ear was always drawn to the music of Thad. Unlike some big band composers and arrangers, when you hear Thad's music, you know its him. From his complex harmonic substitutions to the ridiculous saxophone and brass writing, Thad's concept and technique is second to none. I have always enjoyed studying his scores as well as transcribing his trumpet solos. What really drew me to Thad's music is his concept of groove. Every single Thad chart swings so hard, even if its a straight eighth tune. When asked to write a piece in the style of Thad, the first word that popped in to my head was "stanky". I wanted to leave plenty of room for the band to lay back and really lay into the groove with a fat, "stanky" sound. As a proud Temple Jazz Band Alum, I was both honored and humbled to write for a band and director, Terell, who really changed my life and helped to shape me into both the musician and person that I am today. Thanks T!
Jonesin' For Some Thad is loosely based around the changes and melody of a few of my favorite Thad tunes. The are certainly elements reminiscent of "A-That's Freedom", "Groove Merchant", and "Big Dipper" - three of Thad's stanky shuffles. When writing some of the lead lines, I have also tried to incorporate some of Thad's improvisational style into the soli/lead lines throughout the tune. As huge fan of Thad's music, both big band and small group, I offer this piece of music as an attempt to help cure those who have the "Thad itch" like I do! Hope you enjoy!