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Contemporary Cat: Terence Blanchard by Anthony Magro

Author Anthony Magro examines the career of Terence Blanchard through a series of straight-up interviews with the trumpeter and composer as well as his family, fellow musicians, teachers and those with whom he’s worked in the film industry. Interviewees include all of the musical Marsalis clan, saxophonist Donald Harrison, bassist Christian McBride, director Spike Lee, actor Denzel Washington and a host of others.

For the most part, the author stays out of the mix, quoting his subjects directly. He quite successfully interweaves responses on a given topic, such as the controversial breakup of the Blanchard-Harrison band, the trumpeter’s struggles when forced to change his embouchure, jazz’s viability and the factor of race. By employing this technique, the reader is offered differing points of view minus possible misconstrued interpretations. On occasion, however, repeated testimonials to Blanchard’s talents add little meat to the subject.

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