A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)

A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)

Twenty-five years after he first rose to prominence as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Terence Blanchard remains at the center of the jazz universe. Perhaps no one other than Blakey has spurred the trumpeter’s career more than director Spike Lee. Blanchard has scored the majority of Lee’s films, and Lee’s artistic creations have often inspired some of Blanchard’s most powerful work. A Tale of God’s Will, Blanchard’s dramatic, poignant, raw, and evocative musical requiem for Hurricane Katrina, is no exception; the 13-song cycle grew out of his work on the score for Lee’s stirring documentary, When the Levees Broke, and features Blanchard’s quintet, along with the 40-piece string orchestra, Northwest Sinfonia, on several tracks. Blanchard, a New Orleans native, was clearly moved by the tragic events (and by Lee’s depiction of them), and his expressive horn work on “Levees,” one of four songs first heard in Lee’s film, is especially touching. The strings establish an ominous, mournful mood, and Blanchard’s trumpet moans and wails with great passion and sharp pain. Equally as affecting is “Funeral Dirge,” which harrowingly summons images of dead bodies floating, and “Dear Mom,” Blanchard’s haunting lament for his own mother, who lost her home in the devastation.

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