Thursday, August 06, 2009

Choices: Terence Blanchard With Dr. Cornel West And Bilal


If you're a jazz fan, you already know about Terence Blanchard, probably as a bandleader, possibly for his work with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He has a new album coming out in about 2 weeks, Choices that is probably his most fascinating work to date. And I'm saying that as a huge fan of his Grammy winning Requiem for Katrina from 2007, A Tale of God's Will , the project he did with Spike Lee for the HBO documentary When the Levees Broke.

He collaborated with activist Cornel West and singer Bilal on the new project. “When the spoken word idea came to mind, Dr. Cornel West was the first person I thought of.  I’ve always been a fan of his philosophy-- the stances he’s taken and the causes that he has championed throughout his career-- and I thought what better person could I find to put a lot of these ideas into words that can work in this particular musical situation.  Bilal on the other hand is a great vocalist and while recognized more as an R&B soul singer, he is a huge fan of Jazz and is very knowledgeable when it comes to the history of music."

West, who is a distinguished professor at Princeton, is best known for work that fuses civil rights and anti-war activism with a powerful moral and even religious social critique. Long a hero of progressives, he got into a much-publicized fracas with obtuse corporate shill Lawrence Summers, then serving, inexplicably, as president of Harvard. Asked about his collaboration with Blanchard, West defined Choices as being about "what kind of human being you’re going to be.  How are you going to opt for a life of decency and compassion and service and love. What goes into that kind of choice. That’s the human challenge. To be part of this album is an unadulterated joy because no doubt about it, music for me is continuous of life-- to be able to live the kind of life that I live on the certain kind of Socratic calling of raising
unsettling questions. To be able to be in conversation and on an album with Terence Blanchard, that’s serious business... I mean, that’s... that’s a beautiful thing.” 

The CD hits the stores August 18th-- on Norman Lear's Concord label. Meanwhile below is the first of 5 "webisodes" on the making of album-- "Terence TV." It'll give you a little hint of what's coming up.

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At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LA Phil Presents Herbie Hancock: Seven Decades – The Birthday Celebration
Wednesday, September 1, 2010, 8:00pm at the Hollywood Bowl

Herbie Hancock
Alex Acuña, special guest
Terence Blanchard, special guest
Juanes, special guest
Zakir Hussain, special guest
Paulinho DaCosta, special guest
Jack DeJohnette, special guest
Wayne Shorter, special guest
Esperanza Spalding, special guest
Susan Tedeschi, special guest
Derek Trucks, special guest
Debbie Allen Dance Academy
Imagine Project Band with Vinnie Colaiuta, Lionel Loueke, Pino Palladino, Greg Phillinganes, Kristina Train

Herbie Hancock, one of the most revered figures in jazz, returns to the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate his 70th birthday joined by a host of special guests from a variety of genres. His original style has moved effortlessly through almost every development in acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B over the last third of the 20th century - absorbing blues, funk, gospel, rock, and even modern classical influences along the way.

For tickets and information, visit


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