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Tue, 03.13.1962

Terence Blanchard, Jazz Trumpeter born

Terence Blanchard

*Terence Blanchard was born on this date in 1962. He is a Black jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer.

Terence Oliver Blanchard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the only child to parents Wilhelmina and Joseph Oliver Blanchard, a part-time opera singer and insurance company manager. Blanchard began playing piano at the age of five and then the trumpet.  He played trumpet alongside childhood friend Wynton Marsalis in summer music camps. Then, while in high school, he began studying at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) under Roger Dickerson and Ellis Marsalis, Jr. From 1980 to 1982, Blanchard studied under jazz saxophonist Paul Jeffrey and trumpeter Bill Fielder at Rutgers University, while touring with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra.

In 1982, Wynton Marsalis recommended Blanchard to replace him in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and until 1986, Blanchard was the band's trumpeter and musical director. With Blakey and as co-leader of a quintet with saxophonist Donald Harrison and pianist Mulgrew Miller, Blanchard rose to prominence as a key figure in the 1980s Jazz Resurgence. The Harrison/Blanchard group recorded five albums from 1984-1988 until Blanchard left to pursue a solo career in 1990.

After a laborious but successful embouchure change, he recorded his self-titled debut for Columbia Records that reached third on the Billboard Jazz Charts. After performing and composing soundtracks for Spike Lee movies, including Do the Right Thing and Mo Better Blues, "Jungle Fever," Malcolm X, Clockers, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, and Inside Man.  In 2006, he composed the score for Spike Lee's 4-hour Hurricane Katrina documentary for HBO entitled When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.

Blanchard also appeared in front of the media with his mother to share their emotional journey to find her home destroyed. With over forty scores to his credit, Blanchard is the most prolific jazz musician ever composing for movies. Blanchard has remained true to his jazz roots as a trumpeter and bandleader on the performance circuit. He has recorded several award-winning albums for Columbia and Sony Classical. 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.

In 2000, Blanchard was named artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California.  Herbie Hancock serves as chairman; Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, and Jimmy Heath were on the original 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 every two years). His 2001 CD Let's Get Lost features arrangements of classic songs written by Jimmy McHugh and performed by his quintet along with the leading ladies of jazz vocals: 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 in McCoy Tyner’s Illuminations. In 2007, the Institute announced its "Commitment to New Orleans" initiative, which included relocating the program to Loyola University New Orleans campus from Los Angeles.

Blanchard also 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. 
The book is the 42nd title in the publisher's "Series In Jazz."

He is known as a straight-ahead artist in the hard bop tradition but has recently utilized an African-fusion style of playing that makes him unique from other trumpeters on the performance circuit. Blanchard lives in the Garden District of New Orleans with his wife and four children.

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