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
In Pictures
Live Reviews
Building a Jazz Library
CD/LP/Track Review
One LP
Read more articles
A Tale of God's Will: Requiem For Katrina

A Tale of God's Will:...

Blue Note Records
2019

buy
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

Related Articles

Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Third Stage of Elegance" CD/LP/Track Review Third Stage of Elegance
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Ariel" CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Never Stop II" CD/LP/Track Review Never Stop II
by Samuel Stroup
Published: January 28, 2018
Read "A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 9, 2017
Read "The Out Louds" CD/LP/Track Review The Out Louds
by Don Phipps
Published: December 5, 2017