Terell Stafford may look like one o’ those Young Lion cats, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a Young Player In The Tradition (made his rep playing w/ Bobby Watson) but he has a luminously fresh, lively n’ varied approach, and that applies to his horns, his band (he employs four saxophonists, though never all at once - too bad ‘bout that) and the material (a refreshing mix of old standbys, originals and unusual covers, like Fletcher Henderson’s "Soft Winds"). Do you think Mr. Wynton would incorporate a bit of jagged, angular funk (w/ electric bass, yet) into the dark, foreboding hard bop of "Selah," while Dick Oatts’ alto wails into Dolphy-territory and TS’s crackling trumpet heralds the Apocalypse? [I think we all know the answer, don’t we?] On "I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed," he dances with the easy muted (literally) grace of Harry "Sweets" Edison (who incidentally soloed on many of Sinatra’s classic Capitol sides), while pianist Mulgrew Miller, with sparse, classic bebop grace makes like Gene Kelly to TS’s Sinatra. The ballad evergreen "The Touch of Your Lips" gets a brisk, breezy up-tempo treatment that recalls vintage Chet Baker circa 1956. While New Beginnings won’t win any awards for so-called "daring" and/or "originality" it DOES serve up an hour of un-jaded, un-routine, sharp-as-a-tack, gregarious and creative hard bop that’s head-and-shoulders above the standard head/solos/head-type bop-ery sessions.