Terence Blanchard feat. the E-Collective
If you are to grow up to be a jazz trumpeter you can’t be born in a better place than New Orleans. The Crescent City is the city where the first legendary kings of trumpet flourished: Buddy Bolden, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Keppard. Terence Blanchard, too, was born in New Orleans, where he took his first important jazz steps in what was for decades the university of hard bop, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Blanchard and saxophonist Donald Harrison were called to replace the Marsalis brothers who were now ready to go their own way. Indeed, it was Wynton himself who recommended Terence to Blakey. After a few years in the Messengers Blanchard began to establish his own bands (the first, founded together with Harrison ), to write soundtracks (in particular for the films of Spike Lee) and other works for the theatre, to carry out intense activity as a teacher and artistic director in several prestigious American institutions, to commit to the revival of New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He even composed an opera, Champion, on the life of the boxer Emile Griffith, whose premiére was staged at the Opera Theater in Saint Louis. Fifteen nominations and four Grammy Awards summarise the extraordinary career of one of the most respected and influential musicians on the contemporary jazz scene.
The E-Collective is the band with which Blanchard has released his latest records for Blue Note, Breathless and then Live (in the middle, the soundtrack of The Comedian, with Robert De Niro) and with which he returns to Umbria Jazz.
It is an “electric” complex with strong funky and soul influences up to the Miles Davis of the 70s, and it differs from the acoustic dimension that has characterised much of the production of the New Orleans trumpeter. The idea of a band that combined different grooves, with strong blues, soul and funk aromas and colours, came during one of Spike Lee’s last works, and then took shape in a concert on Staten Island. E-Collective started from there, and for Breathless, it was inspired by the dramatic death of Eric Garner, the African American killed in a police operation, and by the racial tensions that followed. “Music and art – says Blanchard – have the power to change hearts and souls”.