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Tim Warfield: York State of Mind

Tim Warfield

York, Pennsylvania, isn’t most people’s idea of Jazz Central, but for saxophonist Tim Warfield it’s exactly that. “It’s a very healthy place to maintain a jazz career,” says the 43-year-old York native and resident. “I’m one hour from Baltimore; 90 minutes from Washington, D.C.; two hours from Philadelphia. Lancaster and Harrisburg, 30 minutes in either direction. So when I get a call from any of those places, I can make the gig easily, and the parameter for working ‘locally’ is much wider.”

Philadelphia has been Warfield’s primary focus since the early ’90s, when his father dared him to look for work in the big city. In answering that dare, Warfield met the late organist Shirley Scott, who became his friend and mentor-and to whom he pays tribute on his new CD One for Shirley (Criss Cross). The record, featuring organ by Pat Bianchi as well as Scott alumni Terell Stafford (trumpet) and Byron Landham (drums), is a surprising detour from Warfield’s primary classic hard-bop sound. But it’s not a mimicry of Scott’s soul-jazz, either: There’s no guitar, but a self-conscious darkness that would never fit with the organ legend’s party music.

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