Magnetic, Terence Blanchard’s stunning new album is set for release May 28 on Blue Note Records. The album features ten original songs written by Blanchard or a member of his quintet: saxophonist Brice Winston, pianist Fabian Almazon, bassist Joshua Crumbly, and drummer Kendrick Scott. Magnetic also showcases special guest appearances from bass legend Ron Carter, as well as label-mates saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and guitarist Lionel Loueke. Magnetic is yet another genre-defying chapter in this innovative musician and film composer’s life – only to be followed June 15 by the World Premiere of Champion, an “Opera in Jazz.” The release of Magnetic will be accompanied by tour dates worldwide including the Newport Jazz Festival in August.
Magnetic is Blanchard’s first release since the critically-acclaimed 2009 album, Choices, and marks Blanchard’s return to Blue Note, which last released A Tale of God’s Will, his Grammy-winning triumphant 2007 requiem for his home city, New Orleans, in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Magnetic was produced by Blanchard, Robin Burgess and Frank Wolf and recorded at Avatar Studios in New York City. The vast array of approaches undertaken by the ensemble throughout the album is striking, from the blistering bop of “Don’t Run” to the fragile ballad “Jacob’s Ladder”; the psychedelic electronic haze of “Hallucinations” to the urgent edginess of “Another Step.” As Blanchard says, “It’s a wide range of musical ideas that come together through the efforts of the guys in the band.”
On June 15th, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Jazz St. Louis will combine forces to premiere Blanchard’s first opera, Champion, an “Opera in Jazz” based on the story of the boxing champion Emile Griffith. Continuing their individual traditions of commissioning music that showcases the talents of the world’s best contemporary composers, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Jazz St. Louis have joined forces in the development of Champion, featuring a powerhouse team of writers and performers. With music by Blanchard and libretto by the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Michael Cristofer, Champion blends the uniquely American tradition of jazz with the dramatic power of opera. The opera will star Denyce Graves, Arthur Woodley, Robert Orth, Aubrey Allicock, and Meredith Arwady. Directed by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Artistic Director James Robinson and conducted by George Manahan, Champion will receive its world premiere June 15-30 as part of Opera Theatre’s 2013 Festival Season. Champion follows his recent score for Emily Mann’s Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.
The track listing for Magnetic is as follows:
1. Magnetic (Terence Blanchard)
2. Jacob’s Ladder (Joshua Crumbly)
3. Don’t Run (Blanchard)
4. Pet Step Sitter’s Theme Song (Fabian Almazan)
5. Hallucinations (Blanchard)
6. No Borders Just Horizons (Kendrick Scott)
7. Comet (Almazan)
8. Central Focus (Blanchard)
9. Another Step (Almazan)
10. Time To Spare (Brice Winston)