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

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">

Marilyn Crispell. Claire Stefani/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Claire Stefani/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Marilyn Crispell On Piano Jazz

The pianist plays free jazz with an evocative and disciplined style.

Marilyn Crispell In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488725929/488823539" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Eric Reed. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Eric Reed On Piano Jazz

Hear the young pianist and composer give a solo performance of "Cedar's Blues" in a 1995 session.

Eric Reed In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487919012/487933490" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jacky Terrasson. Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

Back in 1995, the young pianist demonstrated extraordinary talent on standards.

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487065269/487071612" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Aaron Parks. Bill Douthart/Courtesy of ECM Records hide caption

toggle caption Bill Douthart/Courtesy of ECM Records

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Aaron Parks On Piano Jazz

The prolific pianist was still in his teens when he joined Marian McPartland for this 2001 session.

Aaron Parks In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/485228786/485229737" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Randy Weston. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Jazz Night In America

Randy Weston At 90

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The eminent pianist was the guest of honor at this year's Panama Jazz Festival.

Randy Weston At 90

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484419476/484422409" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ray Charles and Marian McPartland. Courtesy of Vanguard hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Vanguard

Jazz Night In America

The Ray Charles Songbook

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Trumpeter Kenny Rampton launched his career with the great performer. He presents that music live.

The Ray Charles Songbook

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484407414/484419129" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top