Trumpeter Blanchard makes powerful statement on new album

Jun 2, 2015, 10:00 AM
This photo provided by Terence Blanchard shows the cover of the CD "Breathless," by Blanchard. (Henry Adebonojo/Terence Blanchard via AP)
(Henry Adebonojo/Terence Blanchard via AP)

Terence Blanchard, “Breathless” (Blue Note)

Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard makes a powerful political and musical statement with his new E-Collective quintet on “Breathless,” his first plunge as a bandleader into groove-based electric fusion music drawing on funk, R&B and the blues.

The title track, inspired by the last words (“I can’t breathe”) of Eric Garner, who died in a New York police officer’s chokehold, is a moving father-and-son dialogue featuring Blanchard’s muted crying trumpet and son JRei Oliver’s spoken-word reflection on the effects of racism.

Blanchard opens the album with a funked-up version of the still relevant civil rights and Vietnam war protest song “Compared to What,” a 1969 hit recording for Les McCann. Blanchard’s fiery trumpet solos drive soulful vocals by Maroon 5’s PJ Morton.

On “Talk to Me,” a funky groove underscores activist Cornel West’s commentary on Martin Luther King Jr.’s prediction that America would remain haunted by racism, militarism and wealth inequality.

Blanchard puts aside his social engagement on other tracks, including the meditative, dream-like “Samadhi” with Oliver reciting a soft-spoken poem about finding inner peace, and the hard-driving “Cosmic Warrior” with some powerful rock riffing.

Morton transforms the Hank Williams country song, “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But Time,” into a seductive R&B song. The album closes with Blanchard playing a passionate, smooth trumpet solo on a cover of Coldplay’s nocturnal ballad, “Midnight.”

Blanchard has put together a strong lineup in the E-Collective matching emerging new talents, keyboardist Fabian Almazan and guitarist Charles Altura, with the veteran rhythm section of drummer Oscar Seaton and bassist Donald Ramsey.

Jazz purists may frown at Blanchard’s departure from mainstream acoustic jazz, but this is not watered-down smooth jazz. Rather, “Breathless” draws inspiration from the exciting ’70s brand of fusion music with bands led by top jazz composers and improvisers such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Entertainment Latest

motley crue...
Kevin Stone

Valley show featuring Motley Crue, Def Leppard rescheduled for 2021

The Stadium Tour, with headliners Motley Crue and Def Leppard, has been reset for 2021, including a date at State Farm Stadium.
3 years ago
Tucson Festival of Books...
KTAR.com

List of Arizona events canceled or postponed in response to coronavirus

Here is a list of events in Arizona that have been canceled, postponed or otherwise impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
3 years ago
Zac Brown Band...
Kevin Stone

Zac Brown Band postpones Phoenix show as coronavirus spreads

The Zac Brown Band announced it was postponing a show at Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix this month, citing "public health concerns."
3 years ago
Justin Bieber...
Kevin Stone

Justin Bieber downsizes Valley show from stadium to Gila River Arena

Pop star Justin Bieber's Valley concert set for June 5 has been relocated from State Farm Stadium in Glendale to neighboring Gila River Arena.
3 years ago
Kevin Stone

Ozzy Osbourne cancels postponed farewell tour, including Phoenix show

Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tours 2 tour, which was scheduled to stop in Phoenix this summer, is no more because of the metal legend's health issues.
3 years ago
Rage Against the Machine...
Kevin Stone

Details released for Rage Against the Machine concert in Phoenix area

It turns out that Rage Against the Machine’s upcoming Phoenix show – which will actually be in Glendale – is part of a seven-month world tour.
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Trumpeter Blanchard makes powerful statement on new album