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Jazz Trumpet Player Terell Stafford Hosts Philadelphia Music Makers on WRTI: October 12, 6 PM

Terell Stafford

This Sunday at 6 pm, celebrated jazz trumpet player Terell Stafford is the host for WRTI's Philadelphia Music Makers.  

Terell Stafford has been hailed as one of the finest instrumentalists of his generation. But while his love of the instrument started early, he didn't find his genre until much later in life. 

Upon discovering a trumpet in his grandmother's closet as a young boy, Stafford immediately found himself attracted to the instrument. So strong was his enthusiasm, that over the years his parents would routinely have to force him to stop practicing and go to bed. While academics were almost impossible for Stafford- who had undiagnosed dyslexia- music became the one arena in which he excelled. Encouraged by a string of excellent teachers and supportive family, his relationship with his instrument deepened until he felt that it was truly an extension of himself. 

During those formative years, Stafford was playing classical music, patently rejecting suggestions to venture away from the repertoire of his peers into jazz. 

Then, one night in graduate school - where Stafford was studying classical trumpet - everything changed. An improvised rehearsal caught the attention of a student nearby and earned him yet another invitation into the world of jazz. This time, Stafford accepted, going on to tentatively attend a jam session where he struggled to get into the swing of things. 

Luckily, his thirst for jazz was as intense as had been his initial obsession with the trumpet itself. With the help of a series of mentors and ultimately, great friends, Stafford learned quickly. He spent entire weekends rehearsing, listening to music, and cultivating the deep, soulful connections that make music dazzle on stage, until the genre truly felt like home. Many of those early collaborators are still among his most frequent partners on stage. 

Stafford is now well established as one of today's foremost jazz trumpeters, performing regularly around the world, and also serving as both the director of Jazz Studies and the chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University.

Trumpeter Terell Stafford recalls how following his passion once landed him in some hot water.