Terrence Blanchard Quintet performance Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood
June 28, 2013 performance, by Dave Read.
The Terrence Blanchard Quintet filled Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall with two sets of dense jazz before a sparse audience on June 28, 2013. It was a lovely evening in the Berkshires, but rain had been forecast, so maybe that had something to do with the nearly empty lawn and four-fifths empty hall. Has the Berkshire county reached the tipping point, where there’s so much stuff going on, that so many tickets for such an accomplished artist as Blanchard could remain unsold?
By “dense” we mean that the music made by Blanchard and his band occupied all the space available; the spacious Ozawa Hall with its renowned acoutistics sometimes seems to be accompanist, rather than mere facilitator, for a musical performance. Besides his brillance as a trumeter, Mr. Blanchard is a charming m.c., engaged with the audience, and generous to his band, which is terrific. He told a funny story about the Tuscon Jazz Society by way of introducing tenor sax player Brice Winston, a wonderful player who is heavily involved in jazz education.
Terrence Blanchard features new release Magnetic in Tanglewood performance
The rhythm section was good enough to be booking their own gigs! Pianist Fabian Almazan, from Cuba, shone especially brightly on his composition, Pet Steps Sitteres Theme Song. The tune is on Blanchard’s current Blue Note release, Magnetic, which also includes Time to Spare, a groovy up tempo composition by Winston, which got the evening underway in good order. Robert Hurst lll was on bass; his 2nd set solo was mesmerizing. Blanchard told us drummer Justin Brown “has great time” and a great career ahead. Blanchard himself demonstrated total artistic mastery of the trumpet, including loud high passages where it felt like notes bolted off the stage and became hecklers in the empty balcony.