336

Terence Blanchard: Choices

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Terence Blanchard: Choices 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

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "3's a Crowd" CD/LP/Track Review 3's a Crowd
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Metamorphosis" CD/LP/Track Review Metamorphosis
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Supernovae" CD/LP/Track Review Supernovae
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks" CD/LP/Track Review Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 24, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.