As we collectively cap off the first week of Black History Month as a community, it’s important to realize just how deep our culture really runs. From music to movies and everything in between, we have made substantial strides in virtually all areas of human life. Salute to the squad!
Focusing on the movies side of that statement, we felt compelled to share with you all one amazing event we attended two Sundays ago (January 28) for a special performance at NYC’s world-famous David Geffen Hall at The Lincoln Center for an event titled The Movie Music of Terence Blanchard.
Yes, we had the ultimate delight of witnessing the legendary Black composer live, backed in instrumentation by the renowned NY Philharmonic, as he performed beautiful renditions of his classic scores from your favorite “Spike Lee joints” like Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X (1992), Bamboozled (2000), 25th Hour (2002), Inside Man (2006), the powerful documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006), BlacKKKlansman (2018) and his more recent work in Harriet (2019).
Blanchard’s execution made the whole audience feel as if we were in a movie theater all over again. He accompanied the sounds with a verbal breakdown before each song to explain what Spike was expecting of him in terms of making the music match the movie, in addition to some general fun facts about production on the movies as well. He got vocal help from the astoundingly talented jazz/gospel singer Lizz Wright during two performances for Malcolm X (“A Change Is Gonna Come”; “Someday We’ll Be Free”) and later was joined by the equally talented GRAMMY-winning jazz baritone Kurt Elling during scores for Bamboozed (“Shadowland”) and fan-favorite Jungle Fever (“Make Sure You’re Here”). Scores for the other aforementioned films were simply just Blanchard and his trumpet doing his thing alongside his mainstay crew known as The E-Collective — Ben Wendel on saxophone, Charles Altura on guitar, Taylor Eigsti on piano, David Ginyard Jr. with the bass and Oscar Seaton handling the drums.
With Thomas Wilkins as appointed conductor, each performance was splendid, to say the least.
See it all up close below with a few amazing recap photos of The Movie Music of Terence Blanchard, provided to us by The Lincoln Center:
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