All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

337

Terence Blanchard: Choices

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Trumpeter/band leader/ film scorer Terence Blanchard is the epitome of an artist who's made good choices. One of the distinct voices in the post-Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis era, he has moved from being a young-lion with seminal players such as Donald Harrison in Black Pearl (Columbia, 1988), to delivering progressive projects such as Flow (Blue Note, 2005) and winning multiple Grammy awards for albums including 2007's A Tale Of God's Will (A Requiem For Katrina) (Blue Note).

Recorded at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Choices is, surprisingly, his first completed CD made in his hometown of New Orleans. The warmth, ambiance and acoustics of the venue pours through each track, channeled through modern compositions and inspired performances by a dynamic sextet which includes Fabian Almazan (piano), Derrick Hodge (bass), Kendrick Scott (drums), Lionel Loueke (guitar) and saxophonist Walter Smith III. Blanchard is a meticulous but selfless leader, allowing the younger artists to shine, exchange ideas and contribute to the open process.

Imprinted with Blanchard's cinematic and swinging style the music is rooted but contemporary; advocating new ideas that include excerpts of a conversation between Blanchard and philosopher, author, and activist, Dr. Cornel West. The combination of eloquent intellectualism and stirring composition forms a thematic imprint. West's insightful words sprinkled throughout the music are like poetry—uplifting, enlightening and provocative; expertly placed within the music as he articulates upon the ideas, questions and choices concerning music, humanity, and spirituality—a jazz dialog for the mind and ear.

The tracks showcase these young artists as distinguished players and scintillating writers, including Smith's sophisticated movements in "Byus," and Scott's Brazilian-tinged "Journey," with seductive vocals provided by singer Bilal Sayeed Oliver (aka Bilal), who in turn gives a riveting performance on his soulful Lament, "When Will You Call." Almazan's "Hugs" shows his adroit pianism with beauty and drama as it pushes the musicians to new heights. In contrast, Hodge's "A New World" takes it to the streets with a funky swagger, as Blanchard and Loueke shred some notes.

Still, Blanchard's consummate imprint and warm tone permeate the recording, and his mirrored tracks "D's Choice" and "Robin's Choice" are masterful—full of emotion, spirit and humanity. Mixing jazz and philosophy within a vibrant setting, the aptly titled Choices, continues to bear the good fruits of his thoughtful decisions.


Track Listing: Byus; Beethoven; D's Choice; Journey; Hacia del Aire; Jazz Man in the World of Ideas; Him or Me; Choices; Hugs (Historically Underrepresented Groups); Winding Roads; When Will You Call; A New Note Angel; A New World (Created Inside the Walls of Imagination); Touched by an Angel; Robin's Choice.

Personnel: Terence Blanchard: trumpet; Fabian Almazan: piano; Derrick Hodge: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums; Lionel Loueke: guitar; Walter Smith III: saxophone; Dr. Cornel West: spoken word (1-3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15); Bilal: vocals (3, 4, 10, 11, 14).

Title: Choices | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Mantra

Mantra

Terence Blanchard
A Tale of God's Will: Requiem...

Beauty, Love and Justice: Living A Coltranian Life
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Live by Mike Jurkovic
Live Reviews
In Pictures
Live Reviews
Read more articles
Live

Live

Blue Note
2018

buy
Breathless

Breathless

Blue Note Records
2015

buy
Magnetic

Magnetic

Blue Note Records
2013

buy
Watts

Watts

Self Produced
2010

buy
Choices

Choices

Concord Music Group
2009

buy
Miracle At St. Anna - Original Soundtrack

Miracle At St. Anna -...

Sony Classical
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Flow Vertical CD/LP/Track Review
Flow Vertical
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Christian McBride's New Jawn CD/LP/Track Review
Christian McBride's New Jawn
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 21, 2018
Read The Sky Above Her CD/LP/Track Review
The Sky Above Her
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "Initial" CD/LP/Track Review Initial
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: April 11, 2018
Read "Vagabond Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Vagabond Soul
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 23, 2018
Read "State Of The Baritone Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Disaster Relief" CD/LP/Track Review Disaster Relief
by Paul Naser
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Walk The Walk" CD/LP/Track Review Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Der Dichter Spricht" CD/LP/Track Review Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018