|Birth name||Terence Oliver Blanchard|
|Born||March 13, 1962|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, conductor, arranger, orchestrator|
|Instrument(s)||Trumpet, piano, keyboards|
|Labels||Blue Note, Sony Classical, Columbia|
Terence Oliver Blanchard (born March 13, 1962) is an American trumpeter, pianist and composer. He started his career in 1982 as a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, then The Jazz Messengers. He has composed more than forty film scores and performed on more than fifty. A frequent collaborator with director Spike Lee, he has been nominated for two Academy Awards for composing the scores for Lee's films BlacKkKlansman (2018) and Da 5 Bloods (2020). He has won five Grammy Awards from fourteen nominations.
From 2000 to 2011, Blanchard 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, and in 2015, he became a visiting scholar in jazz composition at the Berklee College of Music. In 2019, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), named Blanchard to its Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies, where he remained until 2023.
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, along with his friend Branford Marsalis. He attended St. Augustine High School, John F. Kennedy High School, and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts; at the latter, he studied under Roger Dickerson, his composition teacher and Ellis Marsalis who wanted Blanchard to become a piano player. 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 (1989) and Mo' Better Blues (1990), Lee wanted Blanchard to compose the scores for his films beginning with Jungle Fever (1991). Blanchard has written the score for most of Spike Lee's films since, including Malcolm X (1992), Clockers (1995), Summer of Sam (1999), 25th Hour (2002), Inside Man (2006), BlacKkKlansman (2018), and Da 5 Bloods (2020).
Blanchard composed the score for Spike Lee's four-hour Hurricane Katrina documentary for HBO entitled When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006). Blanchard appeared in front of the camera with his mother to share their journey back to find her home destroyed. He also created a 2007 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 along with his band, 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 Gina Prince Bythewood, Ron Shelton, and Kasi Lemmons. Entertainment Weekly proclaimed Blanchard "central to a general resurgence of jazz composition for film." In a 1994 interview for DownBeat, 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.
Blanchard's opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones with a libretto by Kasi Lemmons had its world premiere at Opera Theatre of St. Louis in 2019, and, on September 27, 2021, had its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, opening the company's 2021–22 season. It is the first opera by a black composer in the entire 138-year history of the company.
In December 2002, Scarecrow Press published Contemporary Cat: Terence Blanchard with Special Guests, an authorized biography of Blanchard written by Anthony Magro.
Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz
In the fall of 2000, Terence Blanchard was named artistic director of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz (formerly Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz) at the University of California Los Angeles. Herbie Hancock serves as chairman; Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry and Jimmy Heath were members of the board of trustees. The conservatory offers an intensive, tuition-free, two-year master's program to a limited number of students (maximum of eight 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 made a 54-date, 10-week tour of the United States from January 8, 2008, to March 16, 2008. Rounding out the band were saxophonist James Moody, pianist Benny Green, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott. The special ensemble also featured 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.
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.
On November 9, 2019, Blanchard performed alongside Lady Gaga as a special guest during her Jazz and Piano show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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 starred Denyce Graves, Aubrey Allicock, Robert Orth, and Arthur Woodley.
On June 15, 2019, Blanchard's second opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, with a libretto by Kasi Lemmons, was premiered by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The opera, based on the 2014 memoir of the same title by Charles Blow, was expanded with added dance sequences and a larger role for the part of Billie, Charles's mother, and opened the Metropolitan Opera's 2021–2022 season. It will close the Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2021-2022 mainstage opera season. Blanchard is the first Black composer to have an opera performed at the Metropolitan Opera.
A complete discography of Blanchard's jazz recordings as a bandleader.
|1983||New York Second Line (with Donald Harrison)||Jazz||Concord||1984|
|1984||Discernment (with Harrison)||Jazz||Concord||1986|
|1986||Nascence (with Harrison)||Jazz||Columbia||1986|
|1987||Crystal Stair (with Harrison)||Jazz||Columbia||1987|
|1988||Black Pearl (with Harrison)||Jazz||Columbia||1988|
|1992||The Malcolm X Jazz Suite||Jazz||Columbia||1993|
|1993||In My Solitude: The Billie Holiday Songbook||Jazz||Columbia||1994|
|1995||The Heart Speaks||Latin jazz||Columbia||1996|
|1998||Jazz in Film||Jazz||Sony Classical||1999|
|1999||Wandering Moon||Jazz||Sony Classical||2000|
|2001||Let's Get Lost: The Songs of Jimmy McHugh||Jazz||Sony Classical||2001|
|2007?||A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)||Jazz||Blue Note||2007|
|2011||Chano y Dizzy! (with Poncho Sanchez)||Latin Jazz||Concord||2011|
|2015?||Breathless (featuring The E-Collective)||Jazz, fusion||Blue Note||2015|
|2017||Live (featuring The E-Collective)||Jazz, fusion||Blue Note||2018|
|2021?||Absence (featuring The E-Collective)||Jazz, fusion||Blue Note||2021|
With Art Blakey
With Cedar Walton
- Joanne Brackeen, Fi-Fi Goes to Heaven (Concord Jazz, 1987) – rec. 1986
- Terri Lyne Carrington, Jazz Is a Spirit (ACT, 2002) – rec. 2001
- Kenny Drew Jr., The Rainbow Connection (Evidence, 1988)
- Robert Glasper, Double-Booked (Blue Note, 2009) – voice in 1 track
- Benny Green, Prelude (Criss Cross Jazz, 1988)
- Ralph Moore, Images (Landmark, 1989) – rec. 1988
- Gregory Porter, Nat King Cole & Me (Blue Note, 2017) – 2 tracks
- Denotes whether its available on CD
|1999||Having Our Say||Lynne Littman||CBS Television film|
|2003||Unchained Memories*||Ed Bell and Thomas Lennon||HBO Documentary|
|2006||When the Levees Broke||Spike Lee||HBO Documentary miniseries|
|2020-2023||Perry Mason||—||HBO series; 10 episodes|
|2021||Genius: Aretha||—||NatGeo series; 7 episodes|
|2021||NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021||Spike Lee||HBO Documentary series; 4 episodes|
|2022||Louis Armstrong's Black and Blue||Sacha Jenkins||Apple TV+ documentary|
Awards and honors
Blanchard has received numerous accolades including five Grammy Awards. He has also received two Academy Award for Best Original Score nominations for BlacKkKlansman (2018) and Da 5 Bloods (2020). He has also received nominations for a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award.
- Cooper, Michael (September 19, 2019). "The Met Will Stage Its First Opera by a Black Composer". The New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
- Rockwell, John (September 28, 2021). "Fire Shut Up in My Bones makes Met Opera history". Financial Times. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
- "Terence Blanchard Biography (1962-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- 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 October 15, 2014.
- Terence Blanchard, ENotes.com
- "Independent Music Awards – Past Judges". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
- "The Princess and the Frog: Fun Facts! – Features". Tribute.ca. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Vitale, Tom (September 27, 2021). "Terence Blanchard Makes History At The Metropolitan Opera". npr.org. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
- "Jazz Police – The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Moves to New Orleans". Archived from the original on November 9, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
- "Monterey Jazz Festival Presents Terence Blanchard Quintet Live in Concert". Archived from the original on November 18, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
- "Error | Kennedy Center". Kennedy-center.org. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
- "BBC Radio 3 - Private Passions". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
- "The Motherf**ker with the Hat", ibdb.com, accessed April 12, 2011.
- Brantley, Ben (April 11, 2011), "A Love Not at a Loss for Words", The New York Times, retrieved April 12, 2011
- Stasio, Marilyn (April 11, 2011), "The Motherfucker With the Hat", Variety, retrieved April 12, 2011
- "The Motherf**ker With the Hat, Starring Chris Rock, Moves Forward First Preview". Broadway.com. December 9, 2010. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
- Blanchard, Terence (June 25, 2015). "Using Three Words to Underscore Three Words: I Can't Breathe". Medium.com. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- "Opera Theatre to Present World Premiere of New Opera by Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Based on Memoir by Charles Blow, in 2019". opera-stl.org. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. February 6, 2018. Archived from the original on July 16, 2020.
- Tommasini, Anthony (September 28, 2021). "'Fire' Brings a Black Composer to the Met, Finally". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
- "Highlights planned for the 2021|22 Season | Lyric Opera of Chicago". Lyricopera.org. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- Woolfe, Zachary (September 23, 2021). "A Black Composer Finally Arrives at the Metropolitan Opera". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
- "Terence Blanchard". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
- "Terence Blanchard to Score Gina Prince-Bythewood's 'The Woman King'". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
- Magro, Anthony. Contemporary Cat: Terence Blanchard with Special Guests, Scarecrow Press (2002) – ISBN 0-8108-4323-4
- Yanow, Scott. Trumpet Kings: The Players Who Shaped the Sound of Jazz Trumpet, Backbeat Books (2002) – ISBN 0-87930-608-4
- Terence Blanchard at IMDb
- 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)