Terence Oliver Blanchard (born March 13, 1962) is an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and music educator. Blanchard started his career in 1980 as a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, then Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He has composed more than forty film scores and performed on more than fifty. He received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Score on Spike Lee's 2018 film BlacKkKlansman.
Blanchard performing in July 2008
|Birth name||Terence Oliver Blanchard|
|Born||March 13, 1962|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, arranger|
|Labels||Blue Note, Sony Classical, Columbia|
|Associated acts||Art Blakey, Donald Harrison, Branford Marsalis, Bill Lee|
Since 2000, Blanchard has served as artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. In 2011 he was named artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami. In the fall of 2015 he was named a visiting scholar in jazz composition at Berklee College of Music. In 2019, The Metropolitan Opera announced it will stage Blanchard's opera Fire Shut up In My Bones, with a libretto by Charles Blow, in their 2021-2022 Season. As of 2019, this will be the first production by a black composer staged by the Metropolitan Opera in the organization's 136-year history.
Blanchard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the only child of Wilhelmina and Joseph Oliver Blanchard. His father was a manager at an insurance company and a part-time opera singer. Blanchard began playing piano at the age of five, then the trumpet at age eight after hearing Alvin Alcorn. He played trumpet with his childhood friend Wynton Marsalis in summer music camps but showed no proficiency on the instrument. In high school, he studied at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts under Roger Dickerson and Ellis Marsalis Jr. From 1980 to 1982, he studied under jazz saxophonist Paul Jeffrey and trumpeter Bill Fielder at Rutgers University.
While studying jazz, Blanchard began touring with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. In 1982, Wynton Marsalis recommended Blanchard as his replacement in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Blanchard was the band's music director until 1986. He played alongside Blakey, Donald Harrison, and Mulgrew Miller, recording five albums from 1984 to 1988. He and Donald Harrison left Art Blakey in 1986 to form their quintet 'The Terence Blanchard/Donald Harrison Quintet' and signed with CBS Records. He left the Jazz Messengers in 1990 to pursue a solo career.
In the 1990s, after an embouchure change, Blanchard recorded his self-titled debut for Columbia Records which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Jazz chart. After performing on soundtracks for Spike Lee movies, including Do the Right Thing and Mo' Better Blues, Lee wanted Blanchard to compose the scores for his films beginning with Jungle Fever (1991). Blanchard has written the score for every Spike Lee film since, including Malcolm X, Clockers, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, Inside Man, and BlacKkKlansman.
In 2006, he composed the score for Spike Lee's four-hour Hurricane Katrina documentary for HBO entitled When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Blanchard appeared in front of the camera with his mother to share their journey back to find her home destroyed. He also created an album titled A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina), in which he recreated some pieces used in the documentary, as well as creating more pieces, to provide audiences with the opportunity to sympathize with those who had been affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Blanchard has also composed for other directors, including Leon Ichaso, Ron Shelton, and Kasi Lemmons. Entertainment Weekly proclaimed Blanchard "central to a general resurgence of jazz composition for film." In a 1994 interview for Down Beat, Blanchard said, "Writing for film is fun, but nothing can beat being a jazz musician, playing a club, playing a concert".
He has recorded several award-winning albums for Columbia, Sony Classical and Blue Note Records, including In My Solitude: The Billie Holiday Songbook (1994), Romantic Defiance (1995), The Heart Speaks (1996), Wandering Moon (2000), Let's Get Lost (2001) and Flow (2005), which was produced by pianist Herbie Hancock and received two Grammy Award nominations.
Terence Blanchard's 2001 album Let's Get Lost featured arrangements of classic songs written by Jimmy McHugh and performed by his quintet with vocalists Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, Dianne Reeves, and Cassandra Wilson.
In 2005, Blanchard was part of the ensemble that won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for his participation on McCoy Tyner's Illuminations, an award he shared with Tyner, Gary Bartz, Christian McBride and Lewis Nash.
Blanchard was a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. In 2009 in the Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog, Blanchard played all of the alligator Louis' trumpet parts. He also voiced the role of Earl the bandleader in the riverboat band.
In December 2002, Scarecrow Press published Contemporary Cat: Terence Blanchard with Special Guests, an authorized biography of Blanchard written by Anthony Magro.
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
In the fall of 2000, Terence Blanchard was named artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of California Los Angeles. Herbie Hancock serves as chairman; Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry and Jimmy Heath sit on the board of trustees. The conservatory offers an intensive, tuition-free, two-year master's program to a limited number of students (only up to eight per every two years).
In his role as artistic director, Blanchard works with the students in the areas of artistic development, arranging, composition, and career counseling. He also participates in master classes and community outreach activities associated with the program. "Out of my desire to give something back to the jazz community, I wanted to get involved. In fact, I've always said that if I wasn't a musician, that I would like to be a teacher. So I was glad to get involved and to be a part of this unique program that fosters such an open and accessible environment."
In April 2007, the Institute announced its "Commitment to New Orleans" initiative which includes the relocation of the program to the campus of Loyola University New Orleans from Los Angeles. Blanchard had passionately lobbied the Institute to relocate saying, "After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was shaken and its musical roots were threatened. I grew up in this city and learned about jazz here at Loyola with other young jazz musicians like Wynton and Branford Marsalis and I know that the Institute will have a great impact on jazz and in our communities. We are going to work hard to help jazz and New Orleans flourish once again."
In 2007, the Monterey Jazz Festival named Blanchard Artist-In-Residence, citing him as "one his generation’s most artistically mature and innovative artists and a committed supporter of jazz education." The Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Band featuring Blanchard on trumpet will make a 54-date, 10-week tour of the United States from January 8, 2008 to March 16, 2008. Rounding out the band will be saxophonist James Moody, pianist Benny Green, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott. The special ensemble will also feature jazz singer Nnenna Freelon.
In December 2007, the Terence Blanchard Quintet performed the movie music of Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard with an orchestra and singers Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, and Raul Midón at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
On February 10, 2008, Blanchard won his first Grammy Award as a bandleader for A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. His two other Grammy Awards were as a sideman for Art Blakey (1984) and McCoy Tyner (2004).
Blanchard composed original music for Stephen Adly Guirgis's Broadway play The Motherfucker With the Hat, which premiered at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on April 11, 2011. The show is described as "a high-octane verbal cage match about love, fidelity and misplaced haberdashery."
On January 20, 2012, the film Red Tails was released nationwide in the United States. Blanchard served as the composer of the original score, marking the first time he has worked with executive producer George Lucas.
He composed incidental music for the 2012 Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.
He released Magnetic May 28, 2013 on Blue Note Records.
On June 15, 2013, after a workshop with Opera Fusion: New Works, Blanchard premiered his first opera, Champion, at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. It is about the life of prize fighting boxer Emile Griffith from St. Thomas, with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Cristofer. It stars Denyce Graves, Aubrey Allicock, Robert Orth, and Arthur Woodley.
Blanchard's album, Breathless, with his new band, The E-Collective, was released by Blue Note Records on May 26, 2015. Featuring Maroon 5's PJ Morton on three cuts, and JRei Oliver, Terence's son, on spoken word, the core band consists of Fabian Almazan on keyboards, Charles Altura on guitar, Donald Ramsey on bass, and Oscar Seaton on drums. Cuepoint, on the web publishing site, Medium, published Blanchard's essay, "Using Music to Underscore Three Words: I Can't Breathe" which details Blanchard's revulsion by the death of Eric Garner and how the subsequent "I Can't Breathe" campaign inspired the series of songs the E-Collective created for the album.
In the summer of 2019, Blanchard will premiere his second opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The opera is based on the memoir of the same title by Charles Blow. On November 9, 2019 Blanchard performed alongside Lady Gaga as a special guest during her Jazz and Piano show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Awards and honors
|Terence Blanchard Grammy History|
|1984||Best Jazz Instrumental Performance – Group||New York Scene||Jazz||Concord||Winner||with the Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.|
|1990||Best Jazz Instrumental Performance – Group||Mo' Better Blues (Soundtrack)||Jazz||CBS||Nominated||with the Branford Marsalis Quartet.|
|1996||Best Latin Jazz Album||The Heart Speaks||Latin Jazz||Columbia||Nominated||features the compositions of Ivan Lins.|
|2000||Best Jazz Instrumental Solo||Wandering Moon||Jazz||Sony Classical||Nominated||for the track "I Thought About You"|
|2001||Best Jazz Instrumental Solo||Let's Get Lost||Jazz||Sony Classical||Nominated||for the track "Lost In a Fog"|
|2004||Best Jazz Instrumental Album||McCoy Tyner's Illuminations||Jazz||Telarc||Winner||featured as the band's trumpeter and composer of one song.|
|2005||Best Jazz Instrumental Album||Flow||Jazz||Blue Note||Nominated||Herbie Hancock, album producer.|
|2006||Best Long Form Music Video||Flow: Living in the Stream of Music (DVD)||Jazz||Blue Note||Nominated||Jim Gabour, video director/producer; Robin Burgess video producer.|
|2007||Best Jazz Instrumental Solo||A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)||Jazz||Blue Note||Nominated||for the track "Levees"|
|2007||Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album||A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)||Jazz||Blue Note||Winner||features Blanchard's quintet with a 40-piece string orchestra.|
|2008||Best Jazz Instrumental Solo||Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival||Jazz||Blue Note||Winner||for the track "Be-Bop"|
|2009||Best Jazz Instrumental Solo||Watts||Jazz||Dark Key Music||Winner||for the track "Dancin' 4 Chicken"|
|2013||Best Improvised Jazz Solo||"Don't Run"||Jazz||Blue Note||Nominated||Lost to Wayne Shorter|
|2019||Best Instrumental Composition||"Blut Und Boden (Blood And Soil)"||Composing||Blue Note||Winner|
|1994||Soul Train Music Award||Best Jazz Album||The Malcolm X Jazz Suite||Nominated|
|1995||Emmy Award||Best Original Score for a TV Mini-Series||The Promised Land||Nominated|
|2003||World Soundtrack Award||Soundtrack Composer of the Year||25th Hour||Nominated|
|2003||Sierra Award||Best Score||25th Hour||Nominated|
|2003||Golden Globe||Best Original Score – Motion Picture||25th Hour||Nominated|
|2003||Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA)||Best Score||25th Hour||Winner|
|2005||Black Reel||Best Original Score||She Hate Me||Nominated|
|2007||Black Reel||Best Original Score||Inside Man||Nominated|
|2019||Academy Award||Best Original Score||BlacKkKlansman||Nominated|
|1984||New York Second Line (as Harrison/Blanchard)||Jazz||Concord|
|1986||Discernment (as Harrison/Blanchard)||Jazz||Concord|
|1986||Nascence (as Harrison/Blanchard)||Jazz||Columbia|
|1987||Crystal Stair (as Harrison/Blanchard)||Jazz||Columbia|
|1988||Black Pearl (as Harrison/Blanchard)||Jazz||Columbia|
|1993||The Malcolm X Jazz Suite||Jazz||Columbia|
|1994||In My Solitude: The Billie Holiday Songbook||Jazz||Columbia|
|1996||The Heart Speaks||Latin jazz||Columbia|
|1999||Jazz in Film||Jazz||Sony Classical|
|2000||Wandering Moon||Jazz||Sony Classical|
|2001||Let's Get Lost: The Songs of Jimmy McHugh||Jazz||Sony Classical|
|2007||A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)||Jazz||Blue Note|
|2011||Chano y Dizzy! (with Poncho Sanchez)||Latin Jazz||Concord|
|2015||Breathless (featuring The E-Collective)||Jazz, fusion||Blue Note|
|2018||Live (featuring The E-Collective)||Jazz, fusion||Blue Note|
With Art Blakey
With Joanne Brackeen
- Fi-Fi Goes to Heaven (Concord Jazz, 1987)
With Ralph Moore
- Images (Landmark, 1989)
With Cedar Walton
- 1991 Jungle Fever
- 1992 Malcolm X*
- 1994 Sugar Hill*
- 1994 Trial by Jury
- 1994 The Inkwell
- 1994 Crooklyn
- 1995 Clockers*
- 1996 Get on the Bus
- 1997 Eve's Bayou*
- 1997 'Til There Was You
- 1997 4 Little Girls
- 1998 Gia
- 1999 Summer of Sam
- 2000 Love & Basketball
- 2000 Next Friday
- 2000 Bamboozled
- 2000 Finding Forrester
- 2001 The Caveman's Valentine*
- 2001 Original Sin*
- 2001 Glitter
- 2002 Barbershop
- 2002 Dark Blue
- 2002 25th Hour*
- 2002 People I Know*
- 2003 Unchained Memories*
- 2004 She Hate Me*
- 2006 Inside Man*
- 2006 When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
- 2007 Talk to Me
- 2008 Miracle at St. Anna*
- 2008 Cadillac Records
- 2010 Bunraku
- 2010 Just Wright
- 2012 Red Tails
- 2014 Black or White
- 2015 Chi-Raq
- 2016 The Comedian
- 2018 BlackkKlansman
- 2019 Harriet*
- Cooper, Michael. "The Met Will Stage Its First Opera by a Black Composer". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- Cooper, Michael. "The Met Will Stage Its First Opera by a Black Composer". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- "Terence Blanchard Biography (1962-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- "Magro, Anthony. "Contemporary Cat: Terence Blanchard with Special Guests", Scarecrow Press (2002)"
- Maloney, Ann. "The pain of Katrina will spill forth when trumpeter Terence Blanchard performs with the LPO on Saturday". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Terence Blanchard, ENotes.com
- Independent Music Awards – Past Judges Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine
- "The Princess and the Frog: Fun Facts! – Features". Tribute.ca. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- Jazz Police – The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Moves to New Orleans Archived 2007-11-09 at the Wayback Machine
- Monterey Jazz Festival Presents Terence Blanchard Quintet Live in Concert Archived 2007-11-18 at the Wayback Machine
- Kennedy Center: The Movie Music of Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard Archived 2007-08-18 at the Wayback Machine
- "BBC Radio 3 - Private Passions". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "The Motherf**ker with the Hat", ibdb.com, accessed 12 April 2011.
- Ben Brantley (11 April 2011), "A Love Not at a Loss for Words", The New York Times, retrieved 2011-04-12
- Marilyn Stasio (11 April 2011), The Motherfucker With the Hat, Variety, retrieved 2011-04-12
- News Staff (December 9, 2010). "The Motherf**ker With the Hat, Starring Chris Rock, Moves Forward First Preview". Broadway.com. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- Blanchard, Terence. "Using Three Words to Underscore Three Words: I Can't Breathe". Medium.com. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- "Opera Theatre of Saint Louis". opera-stl.org. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
- "Grammy Awards list". Grammy.com. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "Terence Blanchard". IMDb.com. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- Jet – Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- "IMDB: Terence Blanchard".
- Terence Blanchard's official website
- Terence Blanchard interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' November 2009
- Magro, Anthony. "Contemporary Cat: Terence Blanchard with Special Guests", Scarecrow Press (2002)
- Billboard Chart History for Terence Blanchard
- Interview with Terence Blanchard
- Terrence Blanchard Terrence Blanchard MusiCodex Page
- Terence Blanchard Interview NAMM Oral History Library (2015)