Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

432

Terence Blanchard: A Tale Of God's Will (A Requiem For Katrina)

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz history isn't exactly littered with great albums featuring string orchestras. There have been a few—tenor saxophonist Stan Getz's Focus (Verve, 1961) and British reed player Tim Garland's If The Sea Replied (Sirocco, 2005) are both masterpieces, but precious few others were recorded in the 44 years which separate them. All too often, string orchestras seem either to cramp an improvising musician's style or deliver a truck load of sound and fury signifying very little, or both.



New Orleans' trumpeter Terence Blanchard's A Tale Of God's Will (A Requiem For Katrina) is one of the genre's infrequent successes. A majestic and emotionally-charged disc, it employs the sonic grandeur of the 40-piece Northwest Sinfonia to convey the magnitude of the devastation Hurricane Katrina wreaked on New Orleans in 2005, without at any time compromising the fundamental jazz character of the music. And it does so without bombast or overstatement, its layered and nuanced character avoiding literal evocations of raging wind and water, and suggesting instead measured grief and a quiet determination to rebuild and move on.



The genesis of the disc was director Spike Lee's HBO documentary When The Levees Broke. Lee asked Blanchard, a regular collaborator, to provide music for the film, which also included footage of Blanchard's mother returning for the first time to her ruined home. Lee's budget didn't run to orchestration, but Blanchard was subsequently able to persuade Blue Note to fund a re-recording of the material, with the Northwest Sinfonia featured throughout.



The nucleus of the album consists of four compositions originally recorded for Lee's film. Melodically and structurally, the tunes are the same—each with its root, consciously or otherwise, in George Gershwin's "Ain't Necessarily So"—but the arrangements give each reading a strikingly different feel. The blues-drenched "Levees" evokes the quiet before the storm, an apparent stillness carrying an undertone of incipient menace; "Wading Through" and "The Water" convey the sheer, biblical vastness of the flood; "Funeral Dirge," arranged as a slow march, with metronomic snare drum rolls to the fore, is a salute to the many people who died. Blanchard's no-frills, in-the-tradition, testifying trumpet, which is the main solo voice, rings out powerfully and affectingly throughout. He blows like a blues player sings, by turns angry, plaintive, stoic, hopeful and elegiac—and, almost tangibly, always from the heart.



An ambitious and brilliantly executed album, and perhaps Blanchard's most fully rounded artistic statement to date.


Track Listing: Ghost Of Congo Square; Levees; Wading Through; Ashe; In Time Of Need; Ghost Of Betsy; The Water; Mantra Intro; Mantra; Over There; Ghost Of 1927; Funeral Dirge; Dear Mom.

Personnel: Terence Blanchard: trumpet; Brice Winston: tenor and soprano saxophones; Aaron Parks: piano; Derrick Hodge: acoustic and electric basses; Kendrick Scott: drums, percussion; Zach Harmon: tabla, happy apple; The Northwest Sinfonia, conducted by Terence Blanchard; Simon James: Northwest Sinfonia contractor and concertmaster.

Title: A Tale Of God's Will (A Requiem For Katrina) | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb24Sun
Terence Blanchard Featuring The E-collective
Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society at the Douglas Beach House
Half Moon Bay, CA
$45
Apr18Thu
TERENCE BLANCHARD FT THE E-COLLECTIVE
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Apr18Thu
TERENCE BLANCHARD FT THE E-COLLECTIVE
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Apr19Fri
TERENCE BLANCHARD FT THE E-COLLECTIVE
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Apr19Fri
TERENCE BLANCHARD FT THE E-COLLECTIVE
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Apr20Sat
TERENCE BLANCHARD FT THE E-COLLECTIVE
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Apr20Sat
TERENCE BLANCHARD FT THE E-COLLECTIVE
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019
Read Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018 Album Reviews
Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018
By Roger Weisman
January 23, 2019
Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019