All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

315

Terence Blanchard: Flow

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
While some bemoan the fact that there have been no "major" developments in jazz in some time—and go so far as to cite that as proof jazz is dead or, at the very least, dying—they're missing the point. With the seemingly infinite number of sources that are being adopted and adapted into jazz contexts these days, what's really happening is that a multitude of artists—possibly more than ever before, as jazz has grown to be a truly global, albeit distinctly marginalized concern—are moving jazz forward from a variety of angles, and in small increments rather than broad sweeps: jazz as an evolutionary form rather than a revolutionary one.

There's nothing especially new about what trumpeter Terence Blanchard is doing with Flow. The blending of various cultural influences—in this case African, Spanish, and Brazilian, as well as urban rhythms—with open-ended improvisation, harmonically complex forms, and greater use of modern technology has been done before (and continues to be explored) by artists as diverse as guitarist Pat Metheny, fellow trumpeter Wallace Roney, and Norwegian keyboardist Jon Balke.

What makes each artist interesting and worth investigating, however—even as they all move jazz, step by step, towards a new kind of fusion that takes it further away from being a strictly American-centric form—is what they do with it. These artists may all be evolving on a parallel plane, but their own personalities and perspectives lend distinct complexions to common multidimensional goals.

Returning from Blanchard's last record, Bounce, are saxophonist Brice Winston, pianist Aaron Parks, and guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke, augmented this time with bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott. Loueke's greater role on this record suggests that Bounce was only beginning to explore where Blanchard ultimately wanted to go. While Loueke's acoustic guitar playing at times displays a folk-like innocence, he's equally capable of more advanced harmonic support, as he does on the three versions of the groove-inflected "Flow" that show up throughout the disc.

This is also the most democratic group Blanchard has ever assembled. Everyone contributes at least one song to the album, ranging from the Afro-centric rhythms of Loueke's "Wadagbe" to Scott's contrapuntal ballad "The Source" and Parks' Spanish-inflected closer, "Harvesting Dance." And while the majority of the writing lends to complexity, the music breathes and there's plenty of space for loose and spirited interplay, unlike saxophonist Miguel Zenon's latest disc, Jibaro.

Flow is arguably the most heavily-produced album in Blanchard's discography, but producer Herbie Hancock—who also plays on two tracks—manages to find the perfect consonance between orchestration and open-endedness. And Blanchard has never sounded better—sharp-toned, he's equally disposed towards gentle lyricism as he is stratospheric flights of imagination.

Flow may not be overtly innovative, but its distinct way of drawing from and combining its variety of sources makes it perhaps Blanchard's most fully-realized statement to date.


Track Listing: Flow part I; Wadagbe (intro); Wadagbe; Benny's Tune; Wandering Wonder; Flow part II; The Source; Over There; Child's Play; Flow part III; Harvesting Dance.

Personnel: Terence Blanchard: trumpet, synth programming; Brice Winston, tenor and soprano saxophone, Yamaha WX5; Lionel Loueke: guitar, vocals; Aaron Parks: piano (2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11); Herbie Hancock: piano (4, 7); Derrick Hodge: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums; Howard Drossin: synth programming (11); Gretchen Parlato: vocals (8, 9).

Title: Flow | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Mantra

Mantra

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

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Live by Mike Jurkovic
Live Reviews
In Pictures
Live Reviews
Building a Jazz Library
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 New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Light Of Love CD/LP/Track Review
Light Of Love
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Heaven Steps To Seven CD/LP/Track Review
Heaven Steps To Seven
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 23, 2018
Read In The Blue Light CD/LP/Track Review
In The Blue Light
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read "A Pouting Grimace" CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Philip Glass – Piano Works" CD/LP/Track Review Philip Glass – Piano Works
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 5, 2018
Read "Music For Empty Halls" CD/LP/Track Review Music For Empty Halls
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 17, 2018
Read "Powered by Life" CD/LP/Track Review Powered by Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 24, 2018
Read "II" CD/LP/Track Review II
by Kevin Press
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Rain or Shine" CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017