If there is such a thing as a renaissance man in jazz, multi Grammy nominee and award-winning jazz trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard definitely qualifies. Blanchard will be appearing in concert at Ball State University’s Emens Auditorium in Muncie on Monday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. along with the highly acclaimed classical/jazz pianist Anthony Molinaro and Grammy winning diatonic harmonica player Howard Levy (formerly with Bela Fleck & The Flecktones).
Blanchard feels strongly that young jazz players need to advance jazz and not rely on a retro approach to the music. He expressed this in an interview with NUVO.
NUVO: Why is it that young musicians don’t play in their own style or voice but lean heavily on the styles of the past?
Blanchard: I think part of it is, when Wynton, Branford and Donald Harrison and myself hit the scene, people used to write about us and say, “Man, they just sound like Freddie Hubbard.” Now, that seems to be a compliment. I think it was a change in attitude. Frankly, I think part of it was people in the media and the record industry who had a certain passion for jazz … when they saw younger musicians who reminded them of the records they listened to, they harped on all of that stuff. That began a movement — that whole retro thing — and when that started to come about you had younger musicians who were coming along thinking that was the thing. So we kind of created this atmosphere ourselves. That’s one of the things that Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and myself want to change by being involved with the Thelonius Monk Institute.
NUVO: Does the lack of sufficient venues for young jazz musicians to perform in hinder their opportunity to develop their own voice or style?
Blanchard: It’s changed a bit. Jazz has become big business now; you have a lot of performing art theaters. In some of the places that I play, some cities still have venues, at least when I am there, they may have a jam session where the guys get together and play. I think that part of it is that the musicians have to get together and create that atmosphere. For concert tickets contact Ticketmaster or call 877-99-EMENS.
The Chatterbox, 435 Mass. Ave., will be cooking with the Latin-flavored jazz of The Monsalve/Perez Jazz Quartet Friday, Jan. 16. It gets even hotter when the sassy, hard-swinging party vocals of Mary Moss & The Carl Hines Quartet return Saturday, Jan. 17. Jamming both nights goes 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. with a cover charge. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 45 S. Illinois St., brings back the tasty jazz of guitarist Bill Lancton’s Trio for its “Sizzling Steaks & Jazz Sunday” Jan. 18, playing 7 to 10 p.m. Dunaway’s, 351 E. St., features jazz/pop vocals of the Tim Brickley Quartet each Thursday and the vocal stylings of Heather Neiderffer & Sean Baker on keyboards each Friday. Performances both nights run 8 to 11 p.m. Circle City Bar & Grille, 350 W. Maryland St. in the Marriott, presents vocalist Betheny Dunlap & Neapolitan Friday, Jan. 16. The Sounds of Jason Curry play Saturday, Jan. 17. Music times both nights are 7 to 10 p.m. There is no Jazz on the Avenue Friday, Jan. 16 but it returns Jan. 23 with James Bell.
At the Jazz Kitchen, 54th Street and College Avenue, guitar legends Kenny Burrell, Grant Green and Pat Metheny are honored by The Bill Lancton Quartet featuring Jeff Deherdt, keyboards, Kenny Phelps, drums, and David Murray, bass, Friday, Jan. 16. Lovers of modern big band jazz won’t want to miss this rare performance of the very swinging Steve Allee Big Band with its hot soloists and catchy arrangements Saturday, Jan. 17. Sets both nights are at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. with a cover charge. Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 3316 E. 86th St., Keystone at the Crossing, has Trotty Heck on piano and Joe Deal playing 5:30 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14. Steven Jones is on piano and Steve Woerner on bass 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15. The trio playing Friday, Jan. 16 from 5:30 to 11: 30 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 17 from 5 to 11 p.m. has Claude Sifferlen on piano, Joe Deal on bass and Steve Davis on drums. North United Methodist Church, 3808 N. Meridian St., will present The Jason Curry Quintet in a free concert Friday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse North, 96th and Keystone Avenue, brings in Conga Jazz for its “Sizzling Steaks & Jazz Wednesday” Jan. 14 playing 7 to 10 p.m.
Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.