Soon the sounds of saxophones and trumpets will fill the air, as it’s almost time for the Main Street JazzFest to take over the Murfreesboro Public Square, May 6–7. The two-day event will draw professional and student jazz performers, including Terell Stafford, an acclaimed trumpet player and member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
Now in its 20th year, Main Street JazzFest is a free event with performances and clinics; it is also a hotbed for socializing, food vendors and kids’ activities. In addition to Stafford, this year’s lineup includes Annie Sellick, Roland Barber, Marcus Finnie, MTSU Jazz Faculty, MTSU Jazz Ensemble I, lots of groups from area high schools and more.
In keeping with tradition, each year one of the festival’s main headliners presents a free clinic for any musicians or music fans who want to participate. This year, Stafford will lead the group lesson on Saturday, May 7, at 3:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts.
According to Stafford, his clinic will focus on history and beneficial tips to growing as a musician, and he’s prepared to answer any questions attendees have about the craft.
“The great thing about clinics is that you’re able to share experiences about how you got to where you are in addition to the technical aspects,” Stafford said in a phone interview with the Pulse. “Sometimes people are shy to ask questions, so it’s important for me to consider everything and share as much as I can.”
Stafford, who started playing the trumpet as a child, maintains a stacked schedule throughout the year. If he’s not on tour with the Grammy award-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, he’s actively leading workshops similar to his clinic at Main Street JazzFest. In addition to performing, Stafford is also director of jazz studies and chair of instrumental studies in the Boyer College of Music at Philadelphia’s Temple University.
According to Stafford, he didn’t start off with a jazz background. In fact, he only played classical music until he attended Rutgers University under the instruction of William Fielder, who inspired him to play all genres of music.
“I started to learn more and more about jazz,” he said. “The more I learned about it, the more opportunities I had to perform.”
During his time at Rutgers, Stafford was invited to join Bobby Watson’s group, Horizon, and he spent several years in college balancing his coursework with firsthand experience performing alongside Watson and others such as co-leader Victor Lewis and Shirley Scott.
“When I started playing with Bobby Watson,” he explains, “I was in my second year of grad school and I had to figure out if I was going to finish school that year or I would go out on the road with Bobby and come back to finish, and I did.”
Scott then invited Stafford to join her quintet and the house band on Bill Cosby’s show You Bet Your Life, where Scott was the musical director. Stafford’s time in the house band allowed him to play alongside Tim Warfield, an experience that led to their ongoing musical collaborations.
In reference to his upcoming clinic, he says he aims to cover as much as possible during the session and for attendees to come with questions.
“If people come with questions, I hope they will leave with the answers,” he says.
To keep up with this year’s JazzFest, visit their Facebook page or mainstreetjazzfest.net.
2016 JazzFest Schedule
Friday, May 6
6 p.m. Oakland High School Jazz Band
6:40 p.m. Blackman High School Jazz Band
7:20 p.m. Smyrna High School Jazz Band
8 p.m. LaVergne High School Jazz Band
8:40 p.m. Central Magnet School Jazz Band
9:20 p.m. Siegel High School Jazz Band
10 p.m. Riverdale High School Jazz Band
Saturday, May 7
11:30 a.m. Seymour High School Jazz Band
12 p.m. Ethos
12:45 p.m. MTSU Jazz Ensemble #1
2 p.m. 129th Army Band
3:15 p.m. MTSU Jazz Faculty
4:30 p.m. Annie Sellick
5:45 p.m. Marcus Finnie
7 p.m. Roland Barber Salsa Band
8:15 p.m. Terell Stafford
11 a.m. Siegel Middle School
11:30 a.m. Stewart’s Creek Middle School
12 p.m. Stewart’s Creek High School 1st Period Jazz Band
1 p.m. TN School For the Blind
1:30 p.m. St. Rose Middle School
2 p.m. Rockvale Middle School
2:30 p.m. Stewart’s Creek High School 7th Period Jazz Band
3:10 p.m. Oakland Middle School
3:50 p.m. Blackman Middle School
4:30 p.m. All Rutherford Co. Jazz Band
5 p.m. Murfreesboro Symphony Jazz Ensemble
5:40 p.m. First Fruit Jazz Project
6:20 p.m. Moore County High School Jazz Band
Terell Stafford will host a free clinic and artist experience at 3:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts