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Jazz Joins the Protest Movement on ‘Breathless’

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Wednesday July 15, 2015

Terence Blanchard recently dropped his 20th album, Breathless, with his latest quintet, The E-Collective (featuring vocals by PJ Morton of Maroon 5). With Breathless, Blanchard joins the growing list of contemporary artists (D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole) utilizing their musical reach as a way to affect change in America. The album’s fusion of funk, jazz and blues is a statement piece, and Blanchard’s take on the protest album. With the “Black lives matter” movement still on the lips and minds of the masses, EBONY.com took the opportunity to speak with the 53-year-old trumpeter about the project and why he believes it’s time to stop dialoguing about race matters and start acting.

EBONY: Breathless is your attempt to underscore three very powerful words, among Eric Garner’s last, that have now been heard around the world: “I can’t breathe.” How did you decide that this is what the album was going to represent, and what do these words mean to you specifically?

Terence Blanchard: It came about because these incidents keep recurring, and I felt that I needed to do something, to say something. The more we started to work on the music as a group, the more apparent it was that this was going to be our statement that can hopefully change some minds and some hearts. And let me be clear about this: for me it is not about a discussion or opening up a dialogue. I am so sick of that. We’ve been having dialogues for far too long with no action, no change.

To read the entire interview by Janelle Watkins in Ebony click HERE