While Wycliffe Gordon is the identified leader on Cone and T-Staff, this is just as much a cooperative effort by the trombonist and bandmate trumpeter Terell Stafford. What they have in common here is that they are soft served, but not verbally or musically -- both utilizing bell mutes on quite a few of these selections, the two veteran brass players swing together swiftly or lightly through this program of modern mainstream jazz and three originals. Everyone, including pianist Mike LeDonne, is in good form, as the quintet moves in and out of bop, classic standards, soul-jazz, and modal music played effortlessly. The 6/8 Wes Montgomery evergreen "West Coast Blues," Curtis Fuller's stirring midtempo "Arabia," the bebop icon "Robbin's Nest," and the Kenny Washington bass lead on Oscar Pettiford's "Tricotism" are played with high professionalism, easily enjoyable to all. Stafford's bluesy "Cousins," with mutes in full blush, and the neo-bop clockwork of "La Marieur" could both quickly become standards alongside the others, as they are attractive melodically and rhythmically. Gordon and Stafford have excelled as leaders in their own right, but together they are a precious tandem, like a modern-day J.J. Johnson and Lee Morgan, here on the cozy, cushy side.
Cone and T-Staff Review
by Michael G. Nastos