The Upshot: Film soundtrack finds Blanchard on point as composer, player and bandleader, displaying the easy confidence born out of the right combo of experience and ability.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
One of the greats of the young jazz lions that emerged in the 90s, trumpeter Terence Blanchard has had his greatest impact through his work in film. The Comedian, which stars Robert DeNiro as a jazz-loving funnyman, is a good example as to why, as it’s a great showcase for Blanchard’s skill as a musician and composer.
Backed by a stellar band, including veteran pianist Kenny Barron and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (son of John), Blanchard blazes through “Deli to Soup Kitchen” and “Electricity on MacDougal,” driving but playful examples of the hard bop (nurtured during his time with bop pioneer Art Blakey) on which he first made his reputation. “Jackie in the Rain,” “Jackie’s Lament” and “Tit For Tat Nocturne” flow on more relaxed grooves, with Blanchard showing off his pure tone on the former and Barron taking a marvelous solo on the latter. “Jackie Gets Out” heads straight into ballad territory, Blanchard’s gorgeous playing taking the tune into pure bliss, while Barron also gets his own showcase, with the smoky beauty “Kenny Gets Out.” The album concludes on an upbeat note with the Latin-flavored, appropriately named “Florida Salsa.”
Throughout, Blanchard is on point as composer, player and bandleader, displaying the easy confidence born out of the right combo of experience and ability. It remains to be seen whether or not The Comedian will light up the box office or enter the film canon, but its soundtrack will last the ages.
DOWNLOAD: “Tit For Tat Nocturne,” “Electricity on MacDougal,” “Jackie Gets Out”’