Grammy Award winner Terence Blanchard has long been regarded as one of the top jazz trumpeters in the world. He won the 2005 Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, and many of his other albums have also been nominated for Grammys. Blanchard has appeared throughout the world at every major jazz festival and venue as a soloist and/or with his band.
In addition to releasing more than 25 jazz albums, Blanchard has composed music for 41 feature films, including Talk to Me, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Barbershop, as well as the Spike Lee films Malcolm X and Jungle Fever.
Blanchard was born in New Orleans in 1962. When he decided to pick up the trumpet in elementary school, he was coached at home by his opera-singing father. In high school, Blanchard came under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis. After graduation, he attended Rutgers University on a music scholarship. One of his professors was so impressed by his talent that he brokered Blanchard a touring gig with Lionel Hampton's band.
In 1983, Wynton Marsalis recommended Blanchard as his replacement in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Part of the Blakey legend was his ability to nurture the performances and the individual personalities of the young talents he brought into his fold. Blakey solidified his own unique artistic vision by supporting the improvisational and compositional ideas of his band members, and his legacy of the working band as workshop is the essence of jazz. Blanchard remains one of the few musicians on the scene today who fully embraces that dynamic.
Now a major player in the jazz and film industry, Blanchard released A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) in August 2006. This 13-track song cycle, inspired by and written for the HBO/Spike Lee documentary When the Levees Broke, features Blanchard's quintet as well as a 40-member string orchestra.
In 2007, Blanchard was chosen by the Monterey Jazz Festival to be its honorary artist-in-residence. He teaches at the institute several times throughout the year, and he performed at the festival in September. He was also a featured panelist and performer at the Sundance Film Festival, and he served as a keynote speaker at the Billboard Film and Television Music Conference. One week each month, he teaches at the Thelonious Monk Institute.