A New Orleans native, Blanchard was plagued early on by facile comparisons to Wynton Marsalis: Both were trumpet phenoms who wore nice suits, apprenticed with Art Blakey and made music recalling the modernist hard bop pioneered by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Then, in 1990, Blanchard hooked up with Spike Lee, contributing to Mo' Better Blues and getting his first real scoring job on Lee's Malcolm X biopic. Since then, he's collaborated regularly with Lee, Kasi Lemmons and other filmmakers, producing scores at a prodigious rate -- he's done five this year, including music for the hit comedy Barbershop. Blanchard's recent recordings include a Grammy-winning album of his own compositions and thematic albums devoted to Brazilian music, the songs of Jimmy McHugh and music from other jazzmen who wrote for film. Look for his Sheldon concert to be a welcome respite from the rigors of the studio, featuring hard-charging small-group workouts of Blanchard's own tunes, spiced with a few choice covers and lots of solo space for everyone.
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