The Jazzcat

Terence Blanchard at Catalina’s Bar and Grill

by on Sep.26, 2007, under News

Tonight I am a bit tired. I still have not caught up from having such a beautiful weekend at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Terence was there as Artist-in-Residence this year and after performing each day at the festival, he is here for a weeklong engagement at Catalina’s Bar and Grill. His resilience is admirable as he continues to lay down such beautiful, historic and important music for our people, for our times.
Peaceful, thoughtful but most of all an ever present way of reminding the world of a disaster that took lives, changed lives and brought a spotlight to a city who, several years later is still in need of assistance.

Terence’s latest recording, “A Tale of God’s Will, (A Requiem for Katrina), is a cognitive emotional outpour of love, sadness, hope and prosperity. This music is stimulating not only because of the dynamics of the compositions and heartfelt performance but, because the music represents a people, our people, Americans that we know and love, us. We share the pain, are concerned about the outcome and step up to unite as Americans, as one in times of despair such as these. Everyone should be doing what he or she can to support the people who have been affected by the great tragedy and Terence uses his heart to connect to the world through music with a purpose.

Mental Images ride on the backs of notes and the pictures that flash in our minds reminding us of unanswered cries for help, the death of innocence, government responses, government excuses, political spins, the Charlie Brown expression of a President and the reality that we are left with.

This reality is the passion that fuels the energy of Terence and his players to speak without words. When the cats broke into “Levees” and “Funeral Dirge”, two pieces taken from Spike Lee’s movie “When the Levee’s Broke”, the audience was immediately transported into that empathetic musical state.

Terence, like Art Blakey, is surrounded by youth and he says that in these latest bands, he has been collaborating with some of the most talented musicians he has played with in a long time. The spirit and energy of this cast of young burners is always on high; each player bringing new dimensions of sound together to create “Blanchard rue” not “Bitches Brew”

Fabian Almazon on piano, Derrick Hodge on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums are a fantastic rhythm section and collectively, they bounce their individual brilliance off of each other to create a solid sublime structure of atomic matter that penetrates and soothes the conscience. Kendrick can hold it down all by himself with rhythms that are full and rich with an arsenal of lovely strokes caressing the skins providing soft brush beauty. Fabian, the newest and youngest member of the group, works the melody with a comfortable concentration while coloring the scene with the delicious delectables. Derrick brings the skills and respect from all of the different genres to the game and drops of his knowledge and experience with each intuitive pluck.

Brice Winston lays down some serious tenor, emulating a cavalcade of emotions that must have been felt from a forgotten city. The processional through the city with bodies literally comes out of a mental vision of the reality. I have not seen the film yet, but I can feel the visual from the intense thick drama of the march.

When Terence comes to your town, see the performance, hear the message, feel the people, buy the music, kiss your loved ones and do what you can to unite and pass on peace and love.

LeRoy Downs

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