Jeffrey Kliman/Jeffrey Kliman
Blanchard performing at The Kennedy Center.
Terence Blanchard's Bounce
Just past 40, jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard can look back at numerous musical accomplishments, including nearly two dozen albums and a body of well-respected soundtrack work for director Spike Lee. He cut his teeth in two legendary jazz groups, playing with Lionel Hampton for two years and then, following in the footsteps of another New Orleans trumpeter, replacing Wynton Marsalis Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
In a frustrating turn, Blanchard was forced to stop playing the trumpet completely for several years in the late 1980s. His slightly improper technique was having a damaging effect on his lower lip; he literally had to learn how to play all over again in order to return to the music he loved.
And return he did, creating an entirely new sound, one with a fresh perspective and a heightened appreciation for his own musical abilities and instincts.
NPR's Steve Inskeep spoke with Blanchard recently, discussing his first forays into music — playing the "Batman" theme on his grandmother's piano in New Orleans at the age of five — through his latest solo effort, Bounce, released in August. They also listen to several tracks from the CD.