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Tuesday June 06, 2017

From The Post and Courier

Terence Blanchard brings New Orleans vibe to the Holy City
By: Christian Medina Beltz

When trumpeter Terence Blanchard blows his horn, the notes articulate a feeling about life and how it’s lived.

‘The beautiful thing about art, there’s so many ways to express a feeling,’ Blanchard said. ‘Classic music is timeless, but recreating it is not. You have to find your own vibration, your own hue, your own color to add to the conversation.’

The Grammy Award winner plays across genres and even moves across mediums, having composed the music for dozens of movies, including all of Spike Lee’s.

On Saturday, Spoleto attendees will have the chance to hear Blanchard’s eclecticism when he brings his E-Collective to town.

A native of New Orleans, Blanchard views the city’s storied music scene as a collaborative sonic laboratory.

‘New Orleans has a vibration that is really unique,’ Blanchard said. ‘There’s a humility, a certain type of realness and honesty. The city has a really strong musical community. It’s all about the people coming together to have a shared experience.”

Blanchard picked up the trumpet at age 8 and learned the instrument at summer band camps alongside his childhood friend, Wynton Marsalis. It was Marsalis who would eventually give Blanchard his big break, handing him the reigns to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers as musical director at just 20 years old.

‘He’s a perfect blend of composer skills and improvisation,’ said jazz bassist Richard Davis, who worked with Blanchard early in his career. ‘I recognized the talents of Blanchard at that time. Originality, it’s hard to come by, but he didn’t sound like anybody but himself.’

Blanchard grew tremendously during his time with the Messengers, leading the group through the Jazz Resurgence movement of the 1980s. His success with the group launched a solo career, eventually leading to forays in film composition after meeting a young upstart director named Spike Lee.

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