Terence Blanchard with his band The E-Collective, plus the visionary paired Turtle Island String Quartet, performed their new album ABSENCE over two nights, offering a very special appearance in an intimate jazz club, The Jazz Kitchen, November 16-17, 2021.  Opening each set, Blanchard reminisced about his first gig here when he played with Art Blakey and shared his own fear at the time as the newest generation that had the opportunity to learn from the masters.

The music this night was fitting in again offering a harbinger of the next generation of jazz masters, with Blanchard surrounding himself with the compositional and youthful artistry of his bandmates.  The new album ABSENCE pays tribute to legendary composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, led by acclaimed trumpeter Blanchard, with pieces written by Shorter as well as original compositions by Blanchard and members of his band.

“I’m proud to have a chance to visit some of the music that has shaped my musical identity,” says Blanchard. “Pairing Wayne Shorter’s music with original works from The E-Collective along with the sonic colors of The Turtle Island Quartet has been an amazing experience. Wayne has said before ‘Jazz means I Dare You,’ so why not dare to be creative and pay homage at the same time,” said Blanchard.

Sharing the stage with Blanchard were Charles Altura (guitar), Taylor Eigsti(keyboards), David Ginyard Jr.(bass) and Oscar Seaton(drums) for the E-Collective and with David Balakrishnan(violin), Gabriel Terracciano(violin), Benjamin von Gutzeit(viola) and Naseem Alatrash (cello) in the Turtle Island String Quartet.

Oscar nominee, six-time Grammy-winner, and 2018 USA Fellow trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements concerning painful American tragedies – past and present. From his expansive work composing the scores for Spike Lee films ranging from the documentary When the Levees Broke, about Blanchard’s hometown of New Orleans during the devastation from Hurricane Katrina to the epic Malcolm X; and the latest Lee film, Da 5 Bloods, Blanchard has interwoven melodies that created strong backdrops to human stories. 

Most recently, Blanchard has composed his second opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the memoir of celebrated writer and The New York Times columnist Charles Blow.  The Metropolitan Opera premiered Fire Shut Up in My Bones on September 27, 2021, to open their 2021-22 season in New York, making it the first opera composed by an African American composer in the 136-year history.  Blanchard has also just wrapped-up scoring Spike Lee’s upcoming and much-anticipated HBO documentary about New York City, NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ which will premiere this Fall. 

Not to be overlooked this evening, the Turtle Island String Quartet offered its own unique contribution to the music, with rousing standing ovations each set when the audience had the pleasure of experiencing the creative jazz-based fusion of their amazing compositions.  Since its inception in 1985, the Turtle Island Quartet has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover Album, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles.  Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has proclaimed the quartet to be “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.

 

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