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Terence Blanchard: A Voice For The Trumpet

Bob Travis

When the microphone switches on, some people freeze. They can’t think of a thing to say. But Terence Blanchard relaxes. 

Blanchard does some of his best thinking in front of a microphone and he's impatient to get his ideas recorded. That might explain why he is so prolific and why he is so good.

Terence Blanchard is a multi-Grammy winning trumpeter and composer. He is comfortable in jazz and orchestral music, as a side man or as the main attraction. He also shines playing bossa nova, mambos and gospel. Blanchard has released dozens of albums and appeared on more than fifty movie soundtracks.

In 2013 he released a CD of original music, called Magnetic. And just a few weeks later, Opera Theater of St. Louis unveiled Terence Blanchard’s first opera in jazz, "Champion."
He talks with Gwen about these projects, about his early years in business (where he spent considerable time with the likes of Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, and many more titans of jazz) and about his years growing up in the Pontchartrain Park neighborhood of New Orleans.

We have put together the complete playlist of the music heard in this hour, which you can read online or download to take with you to your local record store. Many of the cuts are available for you to stream to your desktop or mobile device. Enjoy exploring Blanchard's music.


Visit the Music Inside Out website for more on Terence Blanchard and his music, and much, much more.


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Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.