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Terence Blanchard Won't Turn a Blind Eye / Mother Jones interview

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Fifty-three year-old New Orleans-born trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard is a heavyweight among his musical peers, and not only for his passion as an amateur boxer. As a bandleader, he has released 20 albums over the past three decades. A prolific composer for film and television-he created the soundtracks for every Spike Lee film since Jungle Fever-Blanchard has a gift for constructing narrative and nuanced mood in his music.

His new album Breathless, released this past May, is his first with the electric E-Collective band and features vocal contributions from Maroon 5's PJ Morton and Blanchard's son JRei Oliver.  

"It's hard with my background to turn a blind eye to what's been happening."

With the new band and the thematic connection to Eric Garner's death, you'd think the album would be full of raw nerves and anger.  But instead, Blanchard has created a suite of instrumentals, songs, and spoken word meditations that invite reflection on finding the strength and peace to heal and move forward. He challenges listeners to be "breathless from exerting your free will, breathless from doing good, breathless from blowing your own sweet solo."

Mother Jones spoke with Blanchard at the Jazz Standard in New York, and later on the phone from his home in New Orleans. READ THE INTERVIEW.