Tim Warfield

The 22nd Annual Bellevue College Jazz Band Festival 2018

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Tim Warfield
Photo by Steve Stoltzfus

Tim Warfield, Jr., a native of York, Pennsylvania, began studying the alto saxophone at age nine. He switched to tenor saxophone during his first year at William Penn Sr. High School where he participated in various musical ensembles winning many jazz soloist awards, including second out of forty competitors at the Montreal Festival of Music in Canada. After high school, Warfield attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. for two years before leaving to lead and co-lead groups in the Central Pennsylvania and Baltimore/Washington areas.

In 1990, he was chosen to be a member of trumpeter and CBS/Sony recording artist Marlon Jordan’s Quintet, of which he remained a member for three years.

In 1991, he was selected to record “Tough Young Tenors” on the Island/Antilles label, which was listed as one of the top ten recordings of the year by the New York Times, ultimately rising to number five, on the Billboard  top 100 Jazz charts. He also joined Jazz Futures, a world touring group assembled by George Wein to showcase some of the world’s brightest young stars in jazz. Also in 1991, Warfield placed third at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Warfield has made several television appearances including 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. Additionally, he has made numerous stage appearances with such names as Donald Byrd, Michelle Rosewoman, Marcus Miller, Marlon Jordan, James Williams, Christian McBride, Wizard Harper, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Coles, Edgar Bateman, Leslie Burrs, Isaac Hayes, Peter Nero, Shirley Scott, Jimmy Smith, Billy Paul, Kenny Barron, Nicholas Payton, Charles Fambrough, Rodney Whitaker, Eric Reed, Carl Allen, Terell Stafford, Stefon Harris, Orrin Evans, The Newport Millennium All Stars, “Papa” John Defrancesco, Joey Defrancesco, Claudio Raggazzi, Derrick Gardner and the Jazz Prophets, Trudy Pitts, Dana Hall, and others.

In 1994, he joined bassist and Verve recording artist Christian McBride’s group, where he remained a member until 1999.

Warfield’s first recording, A Cool Blue, was selected as one of the top ten recordings of the year in a 1995 New York Times

Saxophonist Tim Warfield
Photo by Steve Stoltzfus, 911 Photographics

critic’s poll, as was his 1998 recording Gentle Warrior (featuring Cyrus Chestnut, Tarus Mateen, Clarence Penn, Terell Stafford, and Nicholas Payton), proclaiming him possibly the most powerful tenor saxophonist of his generation.

In the fall of 1997 Warfield exclusively joined forces with New Orleans trumpeter and recording artist Nicholas Payton.

In 1999, he was awarded “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” in DownBeat Magazines 49th Annual Jazz Critics poll.

​In 2000, alongside crooner Loston Harris, Warfield performed at the MTV GQ Men of the Year Awards in New York City.

In 2006, Warfield 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 and New Orleans native, Nicholas Payton.

In July of 2008, featured in the “Playlist” section, Warfield’s recording “One For Shirley” dedicated to the legendary organist Shirley Scott, was one of three recordings to receive notable mention in the New York Times.

In 2009, Warfield performed in “PARIS 1959”, an adaptation of Puccini’s “Ill Tabarro”, under the direction of producer Tami Swartz, and presented by the Harrisburg Opera Association.

In 2010, his CD “A Sentimental Journey” on the Criss Cross jazz label was selected as a “Critic’s Choice” in the New York Times, by Ben Ratliff.

In August of 2011, Warfield was recognized in a listing of Rising Star  Tenor saxophonists, in Downbeat Magazine”s Critics Poll.

In December of 2012, Warfield released his CD entitled “Tim Warfield’s Jazzy Christmas,” on his label Undaunted Music. The recording features an all star cast including, trumpeter Terell Stafford, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, pianists Cyrus Chestnut, and Neil Podgurski, bassist Rodney Whitaker, drummer Clarence Penn, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, and vocalists Joanna Pascale, and Jamie Davis. The CD, was showcased  among 20 other new holiday recordings, as one of the Best Holiday recordings for 2013, in the New York Times, Holiday Gift Guide.

Saxophonist Tim Warfield
Photo by Steve Stoltzfus

In the year 2013, Tim released two recordings, Eye of the Beholder,” which was released in March, on the Criss Cross Jazz label, and features, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Clarence Penn, and “Inspire Me,” which was released on the Herb Harris music label, in October 2013, and features trumpeter Antoine Drye, Saxophonist and vocalist, Herb Harris, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Greg Wiliams, and drummer Rodney Green.

Tim’s newest recording on Criss Cross Jazz, titled “Spherical,” dedicated to piano genius, and jazz icon, Thelonious Sphere Monk, was released February 17th, 2015, and features trumpet legend Eddie Henderson, pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Clarence Penn.

On November 7, 2015, The Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing Arts, recognized Tim, as “Tenor saxophonist of the Year,” at their annual Clef Club Jazz Awards, in Philadelphia.

Tim currently serves as a board member, and music committee chairperson, for the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz. Tim also serves as “artist-in-residence” at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa, and an adjunct music faculty member at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pa. Tim has recently joined the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, under the direction of Terell Stafford.




Last Updated October 5, 2017