Happy Birthday Terence Blanchard

March 13, 1962

A birthday tribute to the trumpeter and composer

Trumpeter and film arranger-composer Terence Blanchard was born on March 13, 1962, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Blanchard began playing piano when he was four and had extensive classical trumpet training but was inspired to play jazz after hearing Alvin Alcorn play in 1970 for his third-grade class.

He studied with Ellis Marsalis at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (1978-80) and attended Rutgers University from 1980-82, playing early on with Lionel Hampton (1980-81).

Blanchard gained his initial fame with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1982-86) where he was Wynton Marsalis’ successor and he co-led a group with altoist Donald Harrison during 1984-89.

The trumpeter took a year off to redo his embouchure on the trumpet, emerging with a wider range and a more distinctive sound.

He has led his own bands since 1990, has written a series of soundtracks for Spike Lee (including for School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Mo‘ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, and Clockers), become an influential educator, recorded such memorable albums as Jazz On Film and the haunting A Tale Of God’s Will (A Requiem For Katrina), explored modern fusion with his E-Collective band, and been consistently one of the finest jazz trumpeters of the past 30 years.

Here is Terence Blanchard on September 13, 2011, sitting in with the Poncho Sanchez band at Amoeba Records, performing “Groovin’ High.”

-Scott Yanow


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