The Theme Is Social Justice

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Tuesday June 20, 2017

From The Daily Nebraskan

Seasoned jazz musician Terence Blanchard headlines Jazz in June on June 20, music expresses social justice theme
By: Gayle Rocz

The list of Blanchard’s experience is extensive. From composing the score of every Spike Lee film since 1991 to his 11 Grammy nominations, Blanchard has received recognition as one of the most prominent jazz musicians of his time.

Fabian Almazan, E-Collective’s pianist, has been a part of the group for three years and played with Blanchard for 10. He said he feels extremely grateful to work with Blanchard because of his previous work with multiple jazz legends such as Paul Jeffrey, Bill Fielder and Art Blakey.

‘He is one of those rare jazz musicians that you can trace the tradition and lineage,’ Almazan said. ‘There’s just a lot of depth to what he’s doing because he’s been doing it for so long.’

Almazan also said while there is a depth to what younger jazz musicians do, Blanchard’s amount of life experience can be heard in his music.

Blanchard has kept the legacy of mentoring alive by taking in artists like Almazan and guiding them in the right direction. Almazan said it’s important to Blanchard that the musicians he works with find their own voice, rather than imitating what has been done before.

‘[Blanchard] has given me the opportunity to just be myself,’ Almazan said.

Almazan said a lot of the group’s compositions were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

The pieces were mostly composed by Blanchard, which will convey a theme of social justice that he has recently taken on in his music, Almazan said.

‘The music itself is very funk and groove-oriented,’ Almazan said. ‘While it still has its basis in jazz, it’s coming more from that side of things.’

Jazz in June coordinator Spencer Munson said this was one of the reasons he chose Blanchard and E-Collective as a headliner for the festival.

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