A Cri de Coer from Terence Blanchard in a Black Lives Matter Age

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Monday August 08, 2016

From The New York Times

A Cri de Coer from Jazz Musicians in a Black Lives Matter Age
By: Nate Chinen

The emotional climax of Terence Blanchard’s SummerStage concert on Friday night, at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island, arrived precisely one hour in, like a timed detonation. It was the title track of his most recent album, “Breathless” — an elegy for Eric Garner, who died at the hands of police officers on Staten Island just over two years ago. Mr. Blanchard, in his trumpet solo over the plaintive theme, struck a careful tonal balance, sounding haunted but unflinching.

Mr. Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry soon after his death, which was caught on video and viewed by millions. The phrase served a blunt, potent role at protests and on social media, bolstering the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. It has been printed on T-shirts, signs and buttons, like the one worn on Friday by Mr. Garner’s 2-year-old daughter, Legacy, as she distractedly took in Mr. Blanchard’s performance near the foot of the stage.

The saying also surfaced, pluralized, in “Breathless,” via a recorded spoken-word recitation by Mr. Blanchard’s son, who goes by JRei Oliver. “Am I wrong for believing that one day black and blue would not equal pain?” He said.

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