He has been lauded for “a swaggering soulful tone” (All Music Guide), for a “spiritual, swinging, smokin’ and especially soulful” sound (Washington Post), and for “an earthy, smoky tone… he is perhaps the most powerful tenor saxophonist of his generation… (whose) improvisations get richer as they go along” (New York Times). Tim Warfield and the Shirley Scott Tribute Band bring all this and more to Jazz Night at the Michener Art Museum May 21.
The established major artist has appeared on several GRAMMY-nominated recordings, and has performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Jimmy Smith, Papa John DeFrancesco, Shirley Scott and Bill Cosby. He has recently joined the adjunct faculty at Temple University’s Boyer School of Music and Dance in Philadelphia and is Artist-in-Residence at Messiah College in Granthan, Pa.
A native of York, Pa., Warfield began studying alto saxophone at age 9. He switched to tenor saxophone during his first year at William Penn Sr. High School, where he participated in various musical ensembles, winning jazz soloist awards including second out of 40 competitors at the Montreal Festival of Music.
After two years at Howard University in Washington, D.C., he went on to lead music groups in central Pennsylvania and the Baltimore/D.C. region.
In 1990 he was chosen to be a member of trumpeter and CBS/Sony recording artist Marlon Jordan’s Quintet. A year later he was selected to record Tough Young Tenors on the Island/Antilles label, listed as one of the top 10 recordings of the year by The New York Times.
Warfield joined JazzFutures, a word touring group assembled by George Wein to showcase some of the world’s brightest young stars in jazz. Also in 1991, he placed third at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition held at the Smithsonian Institute.
Television appearances include The Today Show, Bill Cosby’s You Bet Your Life (where he was a member of the house band until 1992), and Ted Turner’s 1998 Trumpet Awards. On stage Warfield has appeared with Donald Byrd, Michelle Rosewoman, Marcus Miller, Marlon Jordan, James Williams, Christian McBride, The Harper Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Isaac Hayes, Terell Stafford, Orrin Evans and many others. In 1994, he joined bassist and Verve recording artist Christian McBride’s group, and remained a member until 1999.
Warfield’s first recording, A Cool Blue, was selected as one of the top 10 recordings of 1995 in a New York Times critics’ poll, as was his 1998 recording, Gentle Warrior (featuring Cyrus Chestnut, Taurus Mateen, Clarence Penn, Terell Stafford and Nicholas Payton), proclaiming him possibly the most powerful tenor saxophonist of his generation. In 1999, he was awarded “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” in DownBeat Magazine’s 49th Annual Jazz Critic’s poll. In 2000, alongside crooner Loston Harris, Warfield performed at the MTV GQ Men of the Year Awards in New York City.
In the fall of 1999, Warfield joined forces with New Orleans trumpeter and Warmer Bros. recording artist Nicholas Payton, with whom he toured and recorded until 2005. In 2006, he joined trumpeter and Maxjazz recording artist Terell Stafford’s Quintet.
Warfield has appeared on several GRAMMY-nominated recordings such as Stefon Harris’ The Grand Unification Theory, as well as Dear Louis and Sonic Trance, both under the leadership of trumpeter Nicholas Payton.
Warfield’s recording One for Shirley on the Criss Cross Jazz Label was released in 2008, and is a tribute to his friend and mentor, the legendary Philadelphia organist Shirley Scott.
In July of 2010, his recording A Sentimental Journey was selected as a “Critics Choice” in the New York Times by Ben Ratliff, and recently lauded in the November issues of Downbeat and Jazz Times magazines. The CD features such classics as, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Here’s That Rainy Day” and “Crazy Rhythm.”
“We are fortunate to have Tim Warfield return to the Michener, this time with his Shirley Scott Tribute Band,” says Director of Programs Zoriana Siokalo. “This exciting organ group will remember the creative genius of Shirley Scott, the native Philadelphian known as a leading figure in one of the most popular forms of jazz, the off-shoot of hard bop known as soul jazz.”
Jazz Nights are all-inclusive evenings featuring hearty appetizers and desserts by Havana Catering and refreshments from River Horse Brewing Company and Sand Castle Winery from 8 to 10 p.m., with music from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Museum galleries are open until 10 p.m.
Advance tickets are required for Jazz Night. General admission seating may be purchased online at http://www.MichenerArtMuseum.org or by phone at 215-340-9800. Tickets cost $40, $34 for Museum members, $20 for students accompanied by a ticketed adult (must be purchased by phone). Reserved table seating for four or six people is $48 ($42 for Museum members). The reception and general Museum admission is included in the price.
This event is sponsored by Friends of Jazz Night.
The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, Pa. Museum hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4:30 pm;
Saturday 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday noon to 5 pm. Admission: Members and children under 6, free; adults $12.50; seniors $11.50; college student with valid ID $9.50; ages 6-18 $6; under 6 free. For more information, visit www.michenerartmuseum.org or call 215-340-9800.