Saturday, June 01, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A Terence Blanchard sampler

This week, let's take another look at trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who's been in and out of St. Louis a lot over the last year. That's because he's been working with Opera Theatre St. Louis on Champion, a new opera he composed that will receive its world premiere at OTSL with six performances taking place between June 15 and June 30.

In the week before the first performance of Champion, Blanchard also will play two free outdoor jazz concerts here in St. Louis, on Wednesday, June 12 for the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and on Thursday, June 13 at St. Louis Place Park.

The New Orleans native already is quite familiar with our town, as he's visited here several times in the last few years to play at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Jazz at the Bistro. Most recently, in 2012 he turned up with percussionist Poncho Sanchez' band in April at the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, and returned in September to play the Bistro again with his own quintet. And even if you haven't seen him play live, you may have heard some some of Blanchard's music anyway, since he has scored many feature films for director Spike Lee.

Since Blanchard was the subject of a previous video showcase post here back in 2009, today we'll concentrate mostly on recent developments, such as the release this past week of Magnetic, Blanchard's latest album for Blue Note Records. The first video up above is from the electronic press kit for Magnetic, and offers a brief behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the album.

Down below, there are three clips of Blanchard performing with his quintet, which currently features Brice Winston (tenor sax), Fabian Almazan (piano), Joshua Crumbly (bass) and Kendrick Scott (drums). First, there's Blanchard's take on the NOLA standard "When The Saints Go Marching In," recorded last year for radio station WNYC. That's followed by an extended excerpt from Blanchard's performance at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and an undated version of a number called "Four Whole."

Below that, there's a taste of Blanchard's collaboration with Sanchez, a version of the bop standard "Groovin' High" recorded in September 2011 at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. The final clip is an extended video interview with Blanchard, recorded last year at Loyola University in New Orleans.

For more about Magnetic, check out these reviews from the Los Angeles Times' Chris Barton,, and New Orleans' Offbeat magazine.

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