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Terence Blanchard: Bounce

Bounce, the title of Terence Blanchard’s new CD, could be viewed as a double entendre. It could signify (in the urban hip vernacular sense) his jump from Columbia to Blue Note, or it could serve as a modifier for the joyous buoyancy that propels the music here. Whatever the case, the CD shows the trumpeter/composer playing at the top of his game.

Blanchard doesn’t really try to reinvent himself by going into completely unexpected directions like some artists when they switch labels (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing), but he does offer a few sonic surprises in the form of guitarist Lionel Loueke and organist and Fender Rhodes player Robert Glasper. In Loueke, Blanchard not only has found someone to further enrich his harmonic and textural palette, he also has a subtle percussionist, who provides additional rhythmic fire, alongside ace drummer Eric Harland on compositions like the boisterous “Azania.” Loueke plucks some cuica-inspired riffs on the sensual reading of Ivan Lin’s “Nocturna.” He’s not on Bounce for cheap gimmicks though; his percussive effects make perfect sense in their contexts, and he shows great grace and restraint when he solos or accompanies. Glasper’s contributions don’t leap out as much, but they’re nonetheless effective, especially in the way he underscores “Azania” with soft eerie Hammond B3 chords or helps instill Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” with a nice R&B flavor.

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