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Terence Blanchard|Breathless

Breathless

Terence Blanchard featuring the E Collective

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Terence Blanchard's 2013 return to Blue Note, Magnetic, built upon his decades-long history of post-bop dynamism with a forward-thinking approach that blended edgy, modal improvisation with a sophisticated, genre-crossing compositional style. It was a concept he had been investigating on his previous efforts Bounce (2003), Flow (2005), and Choices (2009), and, though it had been years since Blanchard was considered a young lion, the eclecticism of the album matched the work of many of his younger contemporaries like trumpeter Christian Scott and pianist Robert Glasper, the latter of whom even played on Bounce. In keeping with this boundary-pushing trajectory, Blanchard's follow-up, 2015's Breathless, finds the New Orleans native jumping wholeheartedly into a funky stew of R&B, hip-hop, and fusion-influenced jazz. Blanchard is joined here by his band the E-Collective, an adroit group of young players centered around gifted keyboardist Fabian Almazan, the only carry-over from the Magnetic sessions. Along with Almazan, the E-Collective features Charles Altura (guitar), Donald Ramsey (bass), and Oscar Seaton (drums). Also showcased throughout is vocalist PJ Morton, who has released his own R&B- and contemporary gospel-infused albums and toured as a keyboardist with the pop group Maroon 5. Ambitious, adventurous, and steeped in the kind of sticky, psychedelic jazz-funk pioneered by trumpeter Miles Davis in the '70s, Breathless is Blanchard's most electrified album to date. While Blanchard has long drawn comparisons to Davis, they've mostly referenced the iconic trumpeter's classic quintet sides from the late '60s and not his effects-drenched fusion period. Similarly, while on previous efforts Blanchard has flirted with an electronic sound, he's never gone this far in a contemporary jazz direction. Here we get a very '90s hip-hop/jazz-infused reworking of Les McCann's classic 1969 socio-political anthem "Compared to What," several languid, new agey spoken word pieces with Morton, and some expansive, groove-oriented cuts like the bluesy midtempo "See Me as I Am" that allow for plenty of spaced-out solos. Also intriguing are Morton's several slow jam vocal numbers, including an inspired cover of Hank Williams' "I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time,' which replaces the country legend's cowboy twang and fiddles with sweeping, Stevie Wonder-esque orchestral synth backgrounds. Also compelling is the languid, dreamy ballad "Everglades," which impossibly balances Debussy-influenced impressionism with angular, synthy, '80s electro-funk. Ultimately, while Breathless is a break from the aggressive, acoustic swing that has marked much of Blanchard's career, it nonetheless retains all the jaw-dropping artistry and soulful creativity we have come to expect, albeit delivered in a vibrant, electric style.
© Matt Collar /TiVo

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Breathless

Terence Blanchard

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1
Compared To What
00:05:48

Derrick Hodge, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - PJ Morton, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gene McDaniels, ComposerLyricist - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

2
See Me As I Am
00:08:52

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

3
Everglades
00:14:33

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

4
Breathless
00:04:38

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

5
Confident Selflessness
00:08:13

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

6
Shutting Down
00:04:12

PJ Morton, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - T. Oliver Blanchard, Jr, ComposerLyricist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - JRei Oliver, Background Vocalist, Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

7
Soldiers
00:06:08

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

8
Samadhi
00:03:56

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - JRei Oliver, Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

9
Talk To Me
00:04:04

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

10
Tom & Jerry
00:02:48

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

11
I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time
00:04:28

PJ Morton, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Hank Williams, ComposerLyricist - Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

12
Cosmic Warrior
00:05:24

Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

13
Midnight
00:04:53

Jonathan Buckland, ComposerLyricist - Frank Wolf, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Martin, ComposerLyricist - Guy Berryman, ComposerLyricist - Will Champion, ComposerLyricist - Jon Hopkins, ComposerLyricist - ROBIN BURGESS, Producer - Terence Blanchard, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Fabian Almazan, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Seaton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Casey Contreary, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The E-Collective, FeaturedArtist - Donald Ramsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Altura, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Blue Note Records

Album Description

Terence Blanchard's 2013 return to Blue Note, Magnetic, built upon his decades-long history of post-bop dynamism with a forward-thinking approach that blended edgy, modal improvisation with a sophisticated, genre-crossing compositional style. It was a concept he had been investigating on his previous efforts Bounce (2003), Flow (2005), and Choices (2009), and, though it had been years since Blanchard was considered a young lion, the eclecticism of the album matched the work of many of his younger contemporaries like trumpeter Christian Scott and pianist Robert Glasper, the latter of whom even played on Bounce. In keeping with this boundary-pushing trajectory, Blanchard's follow-up, 2015's Breathless, finds the New Orleans native jumping wholeheartedly into a funky stew of R&B, hip-hop, and fusion-influenced jazz. Blanchard is joined here by his band the E-Collective, an adroit group of young players centered around gifted keyboardist Fabian Almazan, the only carry-over from the Magnetic sessions. Along with Almazan, the E-Collective features Charles Altura (guitar), Donald Ramsey (bass), and Oscar Seaton (drums). Also showcased throughout is vocalist PJ Morton, who has released his own R&B- and contemporary gospel-infused albums and toured as a keyboardist with the pop group Maroon 5. Ambitious, adventurous, and steeped in the kind of sticky, psychedelic jazz-funk pioneered by trumpeter Miles Davis in the '70s, Breathless is Blanchard's most electrified album to date. While Blanchard has long drawn comparisons to Davis, they've mostly referenced the iconic trumpeter's classic quintet sides from the late '60s and not his effects-drenched fusion period. Similarly, while on previous efforts Blanchard has flirted with an electronic sound, he's never gone this far in a contemporary jazz direction. Here we get a very '90s hip-hop/jazz-infused reworking of Les McCann's classic 1969 socio-political anthem "Compared to What," several languid, new agey spoken word pieces with Morton, and some expansive, groove-oriented cuts like the bluesy midtempo "See Me as I Am" that allow for plenty of spaced-out solos. Also intriguing are Morton's several slow jam vocal numbers, including an inspired cover of Hank Williams' "I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time,' which replaces the country legend's cowboy twang and fiddles with sweeping, Stevie Wonder-esque orchestral synth backgrounds. Also compelling is the languid, dreamy ballad "Everglades," which impossibly balances Debussy-influenced impressionism with angular, synthy, '80s electro-funk. Ultimately, while Breathless is a break from the aggressive, acoustic swing that has marked much of Blanchard's career, it nonetheless retains all the jaw-dropping artistry and soulful creativity we have come to expect, albeit delivered in a vibrant, electric style.
© Matt Collar /TiVo

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