Terence Blanchard, internationally lauded as one of the greatest trumpet players of his generation, Artistic Director of the Henry Mancini Institute at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, and a noted composer of film scores and music for other orchestral and theatrical works, has endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists.

Born in New Orleans, Mr. Blanchard began playing piano at age 5 and played trumpet in summer camps with childhood friend Wynton Marsalis. He attended the prestigious New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and Rutgers University where he studied with Ellis Marsalis and Roger Dickerson.

Blanchard’s first break came when Marsalis recommended him as his replacement in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, where he remained trumpeter and musical director until 1986. Alongside Blakey as co-leader and sax player Donald Harrison and pianist Mulgrew Miller as bandmates, Blanchard rose to prominence during the 1980s jazz resurgence. It was also in the Jazz Messengers that Blanchard received his first Grammy nod.

Terence Blanchard  Photo credit, Nitin Vadukul

Terence Blanchard
Photo credit, Nitin Vadukul

Notably, Mr. Blanchard is the most prolific jazz player to ever score films, with over 40 films to his name. After he contributed music for Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues (1990) the filmmaker was so impressed that he asked Mr.Blanchard to score his films. Blanchard obliged and the two embarked upon a career-defining relationship on projects like Jungle Fever, Malcom X, Clockers, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, Inside Man, Get on the Bus and more. Blanchard also Scored Lee’s 2006 documentary on Hurricane Katrina titled When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, even appearing on camera with his mother to discuss the loss of her home in the storm. He has also worked with directors such as Leon Ichaso, Ron Shelton and Kasi Lemmons.

Blanchard has always stayed true to his jazz roots, releasing several award-winning albums for Columbia, Sony Classical and Blue Note records, and he is a 5-time Grammy winner. His self-titled debut record for Columbia Records reached the third spot on the Billboard jazz charts.

Justice for Jazz Artists is honored to add a player as seasoned as Mr. Blanchard to its supporters rolls. Even after his massive success scoring films and a lucrative relationship with a legendary American filmmaker, Mr. Blanchard was quoted as saying, “Writing for film is fun, but nothing can beat being a jazz musician, playing a club, playing a concert.”

Mr. Blanchard knows intimately the joys, and struggles, of playing jazz for a living, and we welcome him to our campaign.