[JPL] Wailing the Losses After Katrina
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 13 15:07:58 EDT 2007
September 13, 2007
Music Review | Terence Blanchard
Wailing the Losses After Katrina
By BEN RATLIFF
Terence Blanchards first set at the Jazz Standard on
Tuesday started with his unaccompanied trumpet solo,
orderly and open-ended.
Then the trumpet playing spilled into Fred Brown, a
scrimmage of a tune, moving through different rhythms
and band strategies as it tossed along. Mr.
Blanchards quintet was expanding its harmony on the
fly, and making sudden room for the individual
players expression especially that of the pianist
Fabian Almazan, a young Cuban who has recently joined
the band. He found his own area of serenity in the
music, making a choosy, minimal improvisation, all of
it sounding like something that could be sung.
What followed couldnt have been more different. It
was music from Mr. Blanchards new record, A Tale of
Gods Will (A Requiem for Katrina), which grew out of
the slow, sad themes he composed for When the Levees
Broke, Spike Lees film about Hurricane Katrinas
devastation of New Orleans. Though Mr. Blanchard
expanded the films music to make the album, it still
sounds like a soundtrack, geared toward dislodging
In the film, sentimental music complements brutal
images, almost softening the blow. On the record,
without visuals, the sentimentality grows too rich.
And in a club, with the slow music backed by
orchestral sound-washes cued from a digital sampler,
the music seemed twice removed from its initial
The band also including the saxophonist Brice
Winston, the bassist Derrick Hodge and the drummer
Kendrick Scott played two of the records longer
pieces, In Time of Need and Ashé. These were about
loss and the confusion that follows it, but in their
sweep they finally felt almost impersonal.
This is an excellent band, though, and a few judicious
performances shined through. Ashé, in particular,
was buoyed once by Mr. Almazan, who put a sensitive
touch and modern classical harmonies in the service of
the tune, and again by Mr. Blanchard, who played a
bright, lyrical solo elegant and flexible, and with a
crucial economy of notes.
Performances by Terence Blanchard continue through
Sunday at the Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street,
Manhattan; (212) 576-2232 or jazzstandard.net.
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
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