Six-time Grammy winning jazz artist and Oscar nominated composer Terence Blanchard plays the Ferring Jazz Bistro

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Wednesday November 20, 2019

From The St. Louis American

Terence Blanchard’s E-Collective plays the Ferring Jazz Bistro this weekend

“He was sitting in a booth by himself when a clip of John Coltrane playing ‘Alabama’ came across the screen. ‘I cried like a baby,’ Blanchard said. ‘You could just hear his pain about what had happened to those four beautiful little girls. I said, ‘wow, he’s not forgetting what’s going on in his community. He’s still a human being even though he’s a great musician.’ That kind of sparked a change in me.’ He began to see music a language that amplified the feelings of pain as a result of systemic injustice felt by those that many have chosen to ignore.

When Hurricane Katrina ravaged Blanchard’s native New Orleans, using his music to convey the pain of a people became a deeply personal experience. ‘It hit a tipping point with Katrina, where I had to make a statement,’ Blanchard said. ‘I had done the Malcolm X jazz suite, but Katrina was one of the things that helped tip it over the edge for me.’ His longtime collaborative partner Spike Lee was working on a film to document the hurricane’s tragic devastation on the city as Blanchard was creating the score for Lee’s film ‘Inside Man.’ Blanchard was working from an apartment in Los Angeles when Katrina hit. He was unable to reach his mother for two weeks, before he learned she was safely evacuated.

Lee asked Blanchard if he would be willing to be a part of the documentary as well as the composer of the score. Normally he meets with Spike Lee in New York. But Lee came to Los Angeles to request that Blanchard and his mother be a part of the film. ‘He came to L.A. and he asked my mom ‘have you been to your home yet?’‘”

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