When trumpeter Terence Blanchard replaced Wynton Marsalis in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1982, he was just 19. Yet alongside another new member, saxophonist Donald Harrison, he quickly helped shape the Messengers’ sound, contributing tunes that made their way into primary positions on recordings and taking on the group’s musical director responsibilities.
More than three decades later, Blanchard’s leadership as a player and composer informs realms beyond his own projects and even jazz in general. Part of that has to do with the humanism with which he approaches his art. He stresses the value of exchanging ideas, and has remained committed to the Blakey ethos of developing younger players. In his own changing lineups, he’s long been known for encouraging all members to write and contribute original music.