Grammy Award Winning Jazz Trumpeter Terence Blanchard Released “Choices”
Terence Blanchard, the three-time Grammy award winning trumpeter and composer, released his latest album, Choices. Available back on August 18th, 2009 on Concord Jazz, the album was the recorded in March in Blanchard’s hometown of New Orleans at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Choices addresses the choices we all make in life, both as a society and on a personal level.
Accompanying Blanchard on the album are longstanding band members Fabian Almazan (piano), Derrick Hodge (bass) and Kendrick Scott (drums). Together with newcomer saxophonist Walter Smith III, all members made significant track contributions to the CD.
Guest artists include writer/speaker/educator Dr. Cornel West, critically-acclaimed guitarist and Blanchard protege Lionel Loueke, as well as singer/musician,composer Bilal. West performs spoken word pieces on the album with Bilal providing vocals on several of the tracks.
When asked about his use of the spoken word in the album, Blanchard responded:
“When the spoken word idea came to mind, Dr. Corenl West was the first person
I thought of. I’ve always been a fan of his philosophy, and I though what better
person could I find to put a lot of these ideas into words that can work in this
particular musical situation.”
Blanchard also commented on his inclusion of vocalist Bilal, noting that
“Bilal…is a great vocalist and while recognized more as and R&B soul singer, he is a
huge fan of Jazz and is very knowledgeable when it comes to the history of music.
Bilal is an exremely accomplished, creative and talented musician, and it just seemed
natural that he shold be involved with the Choices project.”
Dr. West also noted that the tracks on the album, whether spoken word or musical, allow the listener to make a connection between what they are hearing and what they decided to do in their own life. The heart of the album seems to point toward understanding what it means to live a life of decency, compassion, service, and love. West also said that he was deeply moved and overjoyed to be a part of the album and to be “in conversation” with Terence Blanchard.
Blanchard has established himself as one of the most influential jazz musicians and film score masters of his generation, a member of a jazz legacy that has shaped the contours of modern jazz today. With more than 29 albums to his credit, as a musician Blanchard is a multi-Grammy Award winner and nominee, winning earlier this year for his instrumental solo for “Be-Bop” on Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival.
In addition to receiving the award, Blanchard performed live on the telecast along with other New Orleans artists including Lil’ Wayne, Allen Toussaint and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who were all joined on stage by singer Robin Thicke. In 2008 Blanchard also won a Grammy for his CD, A Tale Of God’s Will (A Requiem For Katrina), a beautifully haunting and impassioned song cycle about Hurricane Katrina and the ravages incurred upon the city of New Orleans and its residents.