Terence Blanchard. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Terence Blanchard.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Live At The Village Vanguard

Terence Blanchard QuintetWBGO

Terence Blanchard Quintet in Concert at the Village Vanguard - 02/18/2009

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/100771911/100865759" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Many Americans have heard Terence Blanchard's music, even if they don't know it — he's scored many of Spike Lee's films since the early '90s. But only a relative few have connected Blanchard the movie composer with Blanchard the acclaimed jazz trumpeter, who combines a love for the music of his native New Orleans with modern hard bop and a spirit of innovation. In the latter capacity, Blanchard brought his quintet north into New York's Village Vanguard, for a performance broadcast live on air by WBGO and live online here at NPR Music.

Blanchard and his band performed nearly uninterrupted for well over an hour, pausing only for introductions mid-set. The night began with slow, dirge-like paeans from Blanchard's latest album A Tale of God's Will (inspired by post-Katrina New Orleans), which morphed into a panoply of energized rhythms and settings. Blanchard's trumpet shone throughout, from airy puffs slurred together into caliginous solos to vibrant, high-note acrobatics.

Backing him was an unfalteringly precise band of relatively young artists. Bassist Derrick Hodge is also a film composer and hip-hop producer; drummer Kendrick Scott also appeared in the previous Village Vanguard broadcast with Kurt Rosenwinkel, and manages his own record label. The rest of the band featured fairly new additions in pianist Fabian Almazan, trained in Cuba and Miami, and saxophonist Walter Smith III, who was playing his first substantial gig with the group.

As a young musician, Blanchard got his first big break from another New Orleans trumpeter. Wynton Marsalis recommended Blanchard to drummer Art Blakey; Blanchard soon became the musical director of the Jazz Messengers for several years in the 1980s. Not long after he left Blakey to pursue a solo career, Blanchard began to score films. He's since amassed more than 10 jazz albums and more than 25 film soundtracks, and he's currently working on a new recording. Since 2000, Blanchard has also been the artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and lobbied successfully to move the headquarters to his hometown of New Orleans.

Blanchard's latest album merges his various artistic pursuits with profound inspiration: A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) features his quintet backed by a 40-person string orchestra. After Spike Lee asked Blanchard to score his four-hour documentary When the Levees Broke, Blanchard was inspired to fill out an album's worth of music. The resulting disc won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

"It was probably the most difficult artistic project that I've ever been associated with," Blanchard told NPR's Neal Conan in 2007.

Blanchard was fresh off his greatest national exposure yet. He recently won another Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo ("Be-Bop," from a live performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2007), and performed that night with an eclectic New Orleans lineup of Lil Wayne, Allen Toussaint and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. This Village Vanguard concert marked Blanchard's second nationally broadcast performance in as many weeks, though compared to the Grammy ceremony, he performed at significantly greater length.

Set List
  • "Levees"
  • "Funeral Dirge"
  • "Wandering Wonder"
  • "Fred Brown"
  • "Bounce"
Personnel
  • Terence Blanchard, trumpet
  • Walter Smith, tenor saxophone
  • Fabian Almazan, piano
  • Derrick Hodge, bass
  • Kendrick Scott, drums
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Josh Webb, recording assistant
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Cecilia Smith is Marian McPartland's guest in this episode of Piano Jazz. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Cecilia Smith On Piano Jazz

The acclaimed vibraphonist solos on "Mourning Before Grace," a piece dedicated to her mother.

Cecilia Smith On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495170641/495179845" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Leonard Feather. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Leonard Feather On Piano Jazz

The "Dean of Jazz Journalists," also a pianist, performs original blues tunes in a 1988 session.

Leonard Feather In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/494127206/494221093" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Oliver Jones. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Oliver Jones On Piano Jazz

The Canadian pianist plays "Jordio" and "Three Little Words" in a 1990 session.

Oliver Jones In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/493257788/493262078" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Walter Davis, Jr., on the cover of Davis Cup. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Walter Davis Jr. On Piano Jazz

The great bebop pianist joined Marian McPartland for this session shortly before his death in 1990.

Walter Davis Jr. In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/492390537/492391202" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Don Cheadle stars as Miles Davis in the film Miles Ahead. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

toggle caption Sony Pictures Classics

Jazz Night In America

Three Miles Ahead

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

On screen, ink, and stage with actor Don Cheadle, writer Quincy Troupe and trumpeter Keyon Harrold.

Three Miles Ahead

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491558852/491559806" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cecile McLorin Salvant and Sullivan Fortner. Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists

Jazz Night In America

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Two rising stars of their instruments duet at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491556926/491558723" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Norah Jones. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS hide caption

toggle caption Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Norah Jones On Piano Jazz

The smoky-voiced singer reinvents standards like "The Nearness Of You" in a 2003 session.

Marian McPartland In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491481080/491483313" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marty Napoleon. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Marty Napoleon On Piano Jazz

Hear the pianist, who once played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars, duet with Marian McPartland.

Marty Napoleon In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/490624621/490631097" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

David Sánchez. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

David Sánchez On Piano Jazz

The cosmopolitan saxophonist and his rhythm section join Marian McPartland for a set of standards.

David Sanchez In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/489759939/489765697" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cover art to The Great Kai and J.J., 1960. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Jazz Night In America

The Eminence Of J.J. Johnson, And His Partnership With Kai Winding

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Trombonist Vincent Gardner takes on the music of his instrument's bebop pioneer.

The Eminence Of J.J. Johnson, And His Partnership With Kai Winding

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488851522/488851879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top