Tuesday October 27, 2015
Interview: New Orleans favorite Terence Blanchard on his work with the E-Collective
By: Theo Schell-Lambert
Terence Blanchard has one of the great charged tones in modern jazz. His protean trumpet can come off sleek or soulful, invigorated or exasperated, often all those at once. Blanchard’s horn is listenable but never easy, seemingly living in a higher, more pitched emotional register. It’s no wonder that he’s become a go-to film score composer. The man can make a mood.
All of which explains how that horn keeps its power when it’s not playing jazz. On Blanchard’s new album, Breathless, he’s assembled a muscular quintet, the E-Collective, and hung a hard left into a bracing mix of rock, electronica and funk. “Compared to What” makes a fitting and blistering opener, Blanchard’s trumpet blaring like a clarion over Oscar Seaton’s tough drums and Fabian Almazan’s synth power surges. On “Confident Selflessness,” Donald Ramsey’s ferocious funk bass sets the pace, daring the jazz lines to keep up — and they do, escorted out of the comfort zone by Charles Altura’s scalding guitar.
It turns out Blanchard had been mulling this stylistic shift for years.
“I’ve been listening to electronic music since I was a kid,” he says. “We initially came up with that concept for the band about eight years ago. [Seaton] and myself were working on a film, Talk to Me, and we just had a lot of fun playing some groove-based music. We wanted to inspire some young kid playing electronic music … to do it on a higher level.”
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