Terence Blanchard

Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard is a prominent brass player, bandleader and recording artist. He also orchestrates film scores and is a leader in mainstream post-bop. Terence Oliver Blanchard, a son of Joseph and Wilhelmina Blanchard, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 13, 1962. At the age of five, he began playing piano. Three years later, he switched to trumpet and joined his childhood friend Marsalis at summer camp. He also took classes at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, where he was accompanied by Ellis Marsalis and Roger Dickerson. Blanchard was a student of Paul Jeffrey and Bill Fielder at Rutgers University, New Jersey. He also toured with Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra from 1980 to 1982. Under Wynton Marsalis’s recommendation in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1982, Blanchard was appointed to replace him. He continued his work in the band until 1986 as musical director and lead soloist. In five years, Blanchard led a prominent quintet that included saxophonist Donald Harrison. They recorded seven albums for the Concord and Columbia record labels, as well as an in-concert tribute of the Eric Dolphy/Booker Little group. Blanchard rose to prominence in the 1990s. He recorded for Columbia, performed on the soundtracks of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, as well as composing the music for Lee’s movie Jungle Fever. Blanchard is the composer for all Spike Lee films since 1991. This includes Malcolm X, Clockers and Summer of Sam. 25th Hour, Inside Man and the Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke. Blanchard and Mark Isham have over 40 scores between them. Blanchard was appointed artistic director of Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles in the fall 2000. Blanchard continues to perform live and tour, but he also records original music in the studio for the Columbia, Sony Classical and Blue Note labels. His albums include The Billie Holiday Songbook (1994), Romantic Defiance (1996), The Heart Speaks (1995), The Heart Speaks (1996), the acclaimed Wandering Moon (2000) and Let’s Get Lost (2001), and Flow (2005). The latter was produced by pianist Herbie Hanscock, and received two Grammy nominations. Blanchard has been nominated 11 times for Grammys, and has won four of them. This includes awards for New York Scene (1984), and A Tale of God’s Will (2007). Blanchard was part McCoy Tyner’s group that won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album in 2005. He is a great sideman and leader. He has played with many jazz musicians, including Abbey Lincoln, Joanne Brackeen. Scarecrow Press published his autobiography Contemporary Cat. Blanchard led the Monk Institute’s Commitment to New Orleans initiative in April 2007. Blanchard Artist-in-Residence was named by the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2007. The festival also formed the 50th Anniversary All-Stars Ensemble, which featured trumpeter James Moody and musicians Benny Green and Derrick Hodge. Blanchard was instrumental in the 2008 film Cadillac Records. He signed with Concord Jazz in 2009. In 2009, Choices was recorded at Blanchard’s New Orleans hometown Ogden Museum of Art. Poncho Sanchez, a Latin jazz percussionist, was his partner in the production of Chano y Dizzy! Blanchard was back in film scoring the soundtrack for George Lucas’ WWII action/drama Red Tails in 2012. In 2012, Blanchard returned to Blue Note under the Don Was-helmed Blue Note. Magnetic was his first album for Blue Note. It featured a new quintet as well as guest appearances from Ron Carter, Lionel Loueke, and Ravi Coltrane. Blanchard continued his Blue Note work in 2015 with an electric fusion and R album.

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