Terence Blanchard Channels Nirvana at NOJHF

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Saturday May 02, 2015

Blanchard’s E-Collective roared in the Jazz Tent, mixing potent funk with buzzing electronic orchestrations that made one think a thunderstorm might be brewing over Lake Pontchartrain. If it sometimes recalled the edgy fusion made by Miles Davis in the 1970s, it also went beyond it, tapping the potent grunge expressiveness of rock.

Blanchard’s band knew just what he wanted. Fabian Almazan conjured a whole battery of electronic sounds and chose just the right chords on his grand piano. Charles Altura launched vaulting lead guitar lines. Donald Ramsey anchored the proceedings with popping funk. Oscar Seaton was an explosive force behind his drum kit, seeming ready to kick it across the stage if that’s what Blanchard required.

And Blanchard? He purred and growled and put his burnished brass sound at the service of musical drama. He told stories. He roared. By the time the set closed, Blanchard seemed to be channeling Nirvana, and that, dear readers, is some of the best news heard in the “Jazz Tent” for a long time.

To read more by Chris Waddington in The New Orleans Times-Picayune click here