Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, 1985 featuring Art Blakey on drums, Donald Harrison, alto saxophone, Terrence Blanchard, trumpet, Jean Touissant, tenor saxophone, Lonnie Plaxico, bass and Mulgrew Miller, piano
Terence Oliver Blanchard (born March 13, 1962) is an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and music educator. Blanchard started his career in 1980 as a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, then Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He has composed more than forty film scores and performed on more than fifty.
Since 2000, Blanchard has 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. In the fall of 2015 he was named a visiting scholar in jazz composition at Berklee College of Music
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 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 and Mo’ Better Blues, Lee wanted Blanchard to compose the scores for his films beginning with Jungle Fever (1991). Blanchard has written the score for every Spike Lee film since, including Malcolm X, Clockers, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, and Inside Man.
In 2006, he composed the score for Spike Lee’s four-hour Hurricane Katrina documentary for HBO entitled When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Blanchard appeared in front of the camera with his mother to share their journey back to find her home destroyed. He also created an 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, 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 Leon Ichaso, Ron Shelton, and Kasi Lemmons. Entertainment Weekly proclaimed Blanchard «central to a general resurgence of jazz composition for film.» In a 1994 interview for Down Beat, 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.