US trumpeter Terence Blanchard is jazzy cool

He’s is an all rounded jazz artist who like most musicians takes his craft seriously but also seeks to stretch his musical dimension. I caught up with the cool musician at the 54 on Bath hotel where we spoke of his musical roots and his performance ahead of the opening night this evening.

You were born and raised in New Orleans, do you ever think- that based on this fact the path was already set out for you?

  • Wow, nobody has ever asked me that. I think about what Miles Davis said “I was born to play the trumpet.” So sometimes I feel that way, being born in New Orleans, born in a family where my father studied opera and sang, my aunt played piano and my grandfather played guitar. There was always music in the house, It’s kinda inevitable that I was going to be a musician of some sorts.

You started playing the piano first, how did you end up playing the trumpet?

  • There was a local musician called Alvin Alcorn, he came to my Elementary school and he gave a demonstration on New Orleans traditional music and I’ll never forget hearing him play, because the thing I kept thinking of was piano can’t create the vibrato like that. The piano doesn’t have that vocal like quality. I went home that day and asked my parents can I get a trumpet? That’s how it started.

You’ve been doing this for so long, what keeps you inspired?

  • As we grow, the story deepens or the story telling deepens. You find more poignant points to focus on and somethings become relevant and some irrelevant. And in the process there is an evolution that you’re not that much aware of.

Your music is anchored in traditional jazz, but you’ve always spoken of evolving and breaking new ground. What’s kept you so fearless?

  • First Miles Davis because I was such a fan of his he was like a guide to me, but then later it became Wayne Shorter because Wayne told me a story about a musician who was struggling and the moral of the story was; the musician’s mother told her it takes courage to be happy. And when Wayne told me that, it hit me like a ton of bricks because I was avoiding musical happiness cause I though I was trying to uphold certain obligations to do a certain thing and I quickly let that go.

Tell us about your new album? The Magnetic

  • We’ve been having a lot of fun playing the music. It’s a reflection of where we are artistically. we were not trying to re-invent the wheel. We were trying to have fun.

What can the audience expect from your set this evening?

  • We’re gonna play music from the CD. We don’t know excatly what, we’ll see how people respond to what we do.

Blanchard is at the Dinaledi Stage this evening.