Who is Terence Blanchard and what has he contributed to music?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A leading jazz artist, Terence Blanchard is a composer, arranger, bandleader, and trumpeter. His contributions to jazz, specifically, have been tremendous: He has composed scores for more films than any other jazz musician; he has been an important part of the resurgence of interest in jazz; he is wonderful innovator, having been called a "straight-ahead" artist in the hard-bop tradition--syncopation that is complex, altered and substituted chords, and advanced harmonies; also, his own unique African fusion has been another innovative contribution.

As well as composition for films, Blanchard has also composed for other directors. He has won 5 Grammys and been nominated 13 times. But, his true love is in performing before audiences, especially smaller ones, such as are found in jazz clubs. And, Blanchard has never forgotten his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana as he is working to relocate the Institute of Jazz to New Orleans from California where he has been director. Terence Blanchard says,

"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."

Certainly, Terence Blanchard serves as a great example of how a rather ordinary musician can rise to his level of creativity and be successful.