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Terence Blanchard is all about ‘creating conversations’

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Saturday October 15, 2016

From The Washington Post

Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard is all about ‘creating conversations’
By: Roger Catlin

Grammy-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard was considered one of the pillars of the straight-ahead jazz resurgence of the 1980s. The New Orleans native played with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers before leading his own hard bop ensembles, recording dozens of albums and writing more than 50 movie scores.

Blanchard surprised fans last year, though, when he and his E-Collective band began playing a more groove-oriented kind of music, with R&B vocals from PJ Morton of Maroon 5 and spoken word from Cornel West and Blanchard’s son, T. Oliver Blanchard Jr. (a.k.a. JRei Oliver).

Those words, in tracks like the one that lent the group’s album its title, “Breathless,” address the death of Eric Garner, whose words “I can’t breathe” have been immortalized by protesters.

Blanchard, 54, and his band perform Oct. 22 at the Kennedy Center, where he is an artist in residence. (His jazz opera “Champion” will be performed by the Washington National Opera in the spring.)

We spoke to Blanchard recently from his home in New Orleans about the socially charged content of the album, his future work in that vein, as well as the music’s sometimes disarming groove.

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