Concert Review: Terence Blanchard Featuring the E-Collective at the 2018 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival


Terence Blanchard at the 2018 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival


Dan Nawrocki / TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

Terence Blanchard Featuring the E-Collective
2018 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival
First Baptist Church
June 26, 7 p.m.

Until Tuesday evening, when the musicians that I noticed at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival made references to the political and social scenario in the U.S., they performed it for laughs.

For occasion, at First Baptist Church on Monday evening, the British pianist Django Bates stated that he had simply come from enjoying in a church at the Rochester International Jazz Festival. Music followers there made a degree of apologizing to Bates about U.S. President Donald Trump and, given the setting, Bates stated he felt like a priest allotting absolution.

Twenty-four hours later, U.S. trumpeter Terence Blanchard provided a much less light-hearted response to the turmoil in his nation. The 56-year-old jazzman crammed the church with rugged and at occasions pounding music with a tough electrical edge, meant to deal with the scourge of gun violence in America.

Backed up by keyboardist Fabian Alamazan, guitarist Matt Sewell, bassist David Ginyard Jr and drummer Oscar Seaton, Blanchard made darkish, dramatic and unflinching music that starred his closely processed, gritty and reverberant horn, Almazan’s personal electronically manipulated piano and burbling keyboards, Sewell’s guitar work that might be heat and limber but in addition howl, and the at-times dominating tandem of Ginyard and Seaton.

From the band’s albums Live and Breathless, Blanchard performed items comparable to the Marcus Miller composition Hannibal, Chaos and Unchanged. All mixed minor-key gravitas, unshakeable grooves and improvised solos fraught with pressure.

Sewell, simply 20 years outdated, was the most conventional, stressing fleet strains and harmonic sophistication. Alamazan was able to extra jagged, slashing enjoying and he dialled up the distortion for his piano so as to add one other layer of depth and which means to at least one standout cadenza.

Blanchard stalked the stage and wailed by means of his horn, blaring out into the room or aiming his horn at the flooring. Given his remarks about victims of gun violence and Black Lives Matter, it didn’t appear to be a stretch to interpret his enjoying as the sound of anguished protest.

The temper switched considerably on Dear Jimi, Blanchard’s tribute to Jimi Hendrix, a bit that featured Sewell as soon as extra enjoying with nice poise, whereas Blanchard put down his horn to depend on the warbling keyboard in entrance of him. The piece was a righteous, soulful standout throughout the live performance. Then, on the pounding, grinding, rocking tune Cosmic Warrior, Blanchard performed with the searing depth of a Hendrix devotee.

Years in the past, when the world was seemingly a lot totally different, Blanchard carried out for hundreds on the Ottawa Jazz Festival’s essential stage. These days, the pageant’s headliners run extra to entertaining teams that provide acquainted songs, comfortable grooves and even frivolity. In the church, Blanchard and his E-Collective veered arduous from that prevailing method, however for crowd that gave him and his band two standing ovations, his sobering musical message undoubtedly resonated.

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