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Trumpeter Blanchard has released some fine recordings in the '90s, but this one may be the best of them all, as he asserts himself as a composer of truly original modern jazz. He wrote seven selections, utilizing one or two of three saxophonists per cut — Branford Marsalis and Brice Winston (tenor) or Aaron Fletcher (alto). It's the rhythm section that boils this pot over; bassist David Holland and especially pianist Edward Simon are en fuego, while young drummer Eric Harland continues to show steady progress en route to becoming a first-rate trappist.
The first piece, "Luna Viajera," harkens back to the composition "Black Pearl." It's a dark, tick-tock, well-after-hours siren's song, with Fletcher and Winston crying uncle for romantic mercy. A patented, masterful bass solo from Holland intros "My Only Thought of You," an easy waltz with moaning, clarion horns by the leader and Marsalis, with a tick-tock beat going back to 3/4 informing the tenorman's solo. Three later numbers feature Winston: the very slow ballad "Sweet's Dream" has a lonely trumpet line from Blanchard; "Sidney" metamorphoses "End of a Love Affair" snippets into a completely new tune; while Simon's lone composition "The Process" is a deep midnight-blue waltz. The 11-minute "Joe & O" has steadily swung, introspective fragments of hip melody strewn throughout from Blanchard and Marsalis, while the resolute token standard finale "I Thought About You" is a languid blues-drizzled ballad for only the leader and his astute trio.
Sparks fly, and unrequited moods coalesce during this prismatic epic of emotions, swing, and truly new mainstream jazz from Blanchard and his cohorts. It comes highly recommended, and is a strong candidate for Jazz CD of Y2K. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi
Born: 13 March 1962 in New Orleans, LA
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Terence Blanchard
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