Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective at Jazz Standard - New York City Article
Terence Blanchard, featuring The E-Collective
116 E. 27th, (212) 576-2232
Through Sunday, June 17
Anyone who grew up with TV commercials, and that would be everyone under 90 years old, is familiar with the “Mikey” test, which is to say, if someone “hates everything,” but he surprises you by liking one thing in particular, then it must be good. Me, I’m not particularly a fan of electronic music in general and jazz in particular; even though, yes, I do acknowledge that the music has to keep evolving, it can’t always be what it was in 1940 or even 1960, I still look back fondly to the days when trumpeter Terence Blanchard was playing things like “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Therefore, when I tell you that I really enjoyed Mr. Blanchard’s current electronic ensemble, both live this week at Jazz Standard and on his new album (also titled Live, Blue Note), the recommendation is all the stronger because you know it’s overcoming my biases against this kind of music.
The stage was literally awash in keyboards: Fabian Almazan not only had the Jazz Standard’s familiar Steinway grand, but an electric piano, and another synth keyboard on top of the acoustic one, and Mr. Blanchard had both a MacBook and another keyboard of some sort in addition to his trumpet. (The rest of the band is guitarist Charles Altura and bassist David Ginyard Jr., both playing electric, and drummer Joe Blaxx Grissett.) The keyboards fill every space, there’s never even a break like you might find in a stop-time blues, and for the most part Mr. Blanchard moved from one tune to another with no discernible pause. Still, it’s an extremely compelling mix of sound, in which Mr. Blanchard’s trumpet is treated in such a way that it makes you think you’re hearing a whole brass section, with slight delay and noticeable space between the “horns.” More than traditional “acoustic” jazz, it’s about mood and, occasionally melody, and the solos all contribute to both, rather than the usual bebop-era model of running over the familiar cycle of chord changes. Both mellow and challenging, this is what electronic music does best.
Author: Will Friedwald
Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.
SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)