Terell Stafford, BrotherLee Love (Capri)
From his emergence in the early 1990s, Terell Stafford’s conception has drawn on the modern jazz trumpet tradition at large. He has evidently not felt the need to pattern himself on individual predecessors. Accordingly, in this tribute Stafford does not approximate Morgan, who was 33 and at the peak of an influential career when he was murdered in 1972. Instead, Stafford honors Morgan in the same way that Morgan became a star, by being himself. He invests several Morgan compositions with his impressive control, tonal range, warmth and a droll humor that dovetails with the force of his swing and his ideas. Tenor saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Dana Hall are strong in support and in solo. Famous Morgan tunes like “Speedball” and “Mr. Kenyatta” are here. So is the lesser-known “Carolyn,” a gorgeous ballad.