Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Terence Blanchard: Flow

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Two years ago, Terence Blanchard documented his jump from Sony Classical to Blue Note with an album titled Bounce. This year’s sequel is just as aptly and succinctly named: Flow not only flows but also shows what’s possible when a band “has” flow. Blanchard has crafted a stirring and soulful contemporary outing and one of the strongest albums of his distinguished career.

Flow is, start to finish, an ensemble effort. Each of Blanchard’s musicians plays a critical role in the group’s expansive sound, and each contributes a song or two. Lionel Loueke, Blanchard’s former charge at the Thelonious Monk Institute, delivers the session’s most distinctive number, a nearly 15-minute long “Wadagbe” that convincingly bridges the gap between West African folk forms, spacious postbop and 21st-century groove. The most purely evocative piece comes from the pen of bassist Derrick Hodge: “Over There” begins as a quiet lament and gradually builds to a fever pitch, its cinematic cadence provoking a monumental and expressive solo from Blanchard. Saxophonist Brice Winston provides the most intricate theme, a Herbie Hancock ode called “Child’s Play.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.