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Terence Blanchard has never been what you’d call predictable

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Thursday October 20, 2016

From The Philadelphia Inquirer

Terence Blanchard & his E-Collective tune up the Annenberg Center on Friday
By: Henry Adebonojo

Terence Blanchard has never been what you’d call predictable. Like Wynton Marsalis before him, the trumpeter left New Orleans in the early ’80s, served an apprenticeship with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and seemed destined for leadership in the tradition-focused “Young Lions” movement committed to steering jazz back onto a straight-ahead track.

But Blanchard veered off that narrow path. He became Spike Lee’s composer of choice, scoring nearly all of the director’s films since 1991’s Jungle Fever. His own music grew more ambitious in scope, from the 2007 album-length suite A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina), inspired by the devastation wrought on his hometown by Hurricane Katrina, to the 2013 jazz opera Champion, based on the life of welterweight boxing champion Emile Griffith.

Last year, he took another unexpected turn with his latest release, Breathless. The album introduced his new band, the E-Collective, an electro-acoustic ensemble inspired as much by hip-hop and modern rock such as Radiohead as by the fusion bands of Blanchard’s youth, including Weather Report and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. “Influences for this band came from all over the place,” Blanchard said last week, over the phone from Ohio’s Oberlin College, where he was rehearsing for a performance of A Tale of God’s Will.

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