Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Philly - Day 1 - Terence Blanchard

Terence Blanchard, photo credit: Carol Friedman

Last week, Lori attended a conference in Philadelphia and I went along to visit some good friends. Jack steered us to 3 great shows.

On friday, the University of Pennsylvania hosted A Spike Lee - Terence Blanchard film festival. We caught the end of a film score lecture and then the concert. Zellerbach Theatre in the Annenberg Center for the Perfoming Arts is a beautiful small theatre with an excellent sound system and interesting lighting.

Terence Blanchard heads a 6 piece band for this performance and played music from his newest CD. Terence's playing is at once strong, intense and clear yet he himself is casual and funny when speaking. The music is modal, dynamic, odd metered and captivating. Keeping in the Art Blakey Jazz Messenger tradition from whence he came, Terence continues the legacy by showcasing the incredible musicians in his band, everyone of them a great composer.

Lionel Loueke is from Africa and plays the guitar in a percussive style that I've never seen before, and I've been half way around the world. His vocals harmonize and compliment Terence's trumpet. Amazing. They performeded at least one of his compositions.

Brice Winston on saxophone adds spice to the music yet his presence is understated. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of New Orleans and has played with the Marsalis family and Dizzy Gillespie. He played his ass off.

Aaron Parks played an electrified grand piano that supplied some of the underlying musical currents and special instruments. His part was also understated but he played interesting solos. A new young lion, he graduated college at 18.

Derrick Hodge, 25, on bass composed a few of the tunes and showed a depth of experience and understanding. He has toured with Mulgrew Miller.

Jemiah(?) Williams, 20 years old, sat in for the regular drummer with one rehersal and drove the band like he had been there for years, quite a challenge as the tunes have so many time changes. His solos were phenomenal.

Terence gave us an inside look at Spike Lee, why and for who he makes his movies. I have a new appreciation of film score and for Terence Blanchard. This band is an inspiration. Look for these musicians in the future.


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