Terence Blanchard – Bounce
(Blue Note – 2003)
by John Thompson
Question. What do you get when you mix the sounds of Africa, Brazil, and America with the styles of Swing, Hard Bop, Free Form, Groove, Early 70’s Fusion and the New Millennium? A CD called “Bounce” by an artist named Terence Blanchard. Is this the guy who plays trumpet? The dude who played with Lionel Hampton and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers after Wynton Marsalis left the group? The same man who wrote music scores for films such as Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever, Get On The Bus, 4 Little Girls, Barbershop,” and the highly acclaimed “Malcolm X”? Is this the guy that released the CD called Bounce? Yes, Yes, Yes and uh, Yes.
A former “Young Lion,” Blanchard has been associated with the post-bop style, playing in traditional Bop settings. Here, he deviates from the norm, displaying an array of musical knowledge and abilities that make this CD one of the best that I have heard in a while. As proof of what’s musically assembled, check out the band members. Let me tell you what we’ve got.
We’ve got a very diverse music journey, with some unexpected instruments, and nine tunes in all. We’ve got a bad ass, Terence Blanchard, playing the trumpet, seeing eye to eye with other bad asses in Eric Harland (D) providing styles from sensitive to gorilla-gladiator-gangster, Eric Winston (TS, SS), Robert Glasper (HB3,FR), Aaron Parks(P), and Brandon Owens (B). Last but not least, we’ve got a guy, Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals. Each tune is has different and special feels, which will keep the listener tuned in.
All of the music is top-notch. We’ve got track 3, “Fred Brown,” featuring the electronic Fender Rhodes piano, which help to give a Weather Report (group) sound. We’ve got a rhythm challenge, my favorite,”On the Verge,” Brazilian flavor on “Passionate Courage”, and “Nocturna,” a trip towards Africa featuring the vocal talents of Loueke on “Azania.” We’ve got Groove on Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints,” and Eric Harland tearing new holes on my second favorite, “Transform.”
In short (ha ha) we’ve got a hell of a lot. There is a lot that I left out too. Did I mention the recording quality and the awesome sound of Blanchard’s horn? Let me tell you, we’ve got a five star CD.