Jul 9, 2010
The Hoop City Jazz & Art Festival moves to downtown Springfield, Massachusetts this year, as the 4th annual festival event right to the heart of the City. The three-day event will take at the City Hall Esplanade and Court Square on July 9th, 10th and 11th, and will feature a variety of well-known talent, including smooth jazz guitarist Ken Navarro, funk veterans the Average White Band, and Springfield native Greg Caputo’s Big Band.
The festival’s real coup, however, is bringing Terence Blanchard to Springfield. Blanchard, one of the great trumpet players, composers and bandleaders, will bring his quintet to the stage to close the Festival on Sunday evening. The strong group will feature Kendrick Scott on drums, Joshua Crumbly on bass, Fabian Almazan on piano and Brice Winston on sax. Many of the musicians also appeared on Blanchard latest CD, Choices, from which their set will draw a number of tunes.
Blanchard is steeped in the tradition of New Orleans trumpeters from Louis Armstrong to Wynton Marsalis, but plays with a unique sound some of called “African Fusion”. Since replacing Marsalis in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1982, he has emerged as a memorable soloist and improviser, winning the Grammy Award for best Jazz Instrumental Solo for the past two years. His magnum opus, A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina), won the Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2007.
Blanchard has been Spike Lee’s collaborator on more than a dozen films, writing evocative scores for “Malcolm X”, “Do the Right Thing” and “Inside Man”. He “ghosted” the trumpet parts played by Denzel Washington in “Mo’ Better Blues”, and appeared in Lee’s HBO documentary “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” to talk about his family’s tragedy after the flooding. Despite a busy touring and recording schedule, he has been the artistic director for the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California since 2000.
The powerful drummer Scott is a bandleader in his own right, having played the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival last month with the Kendrick Scott Oracle, a forward thinking quintet featuring Taylor Eigsti on piano, Mike Moreno on guitar and John Ellis on tenor sax.