Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard has quite the resume: he played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the 1980s and composed the music for some of director Spike Lee's films. Blanchard is fairly unique: a relatively young (born 1962) jazz player, he achieves a rare balance between loyalty to the Jazz Tradition (swing, melodicism) and the pack of players who, without necessarily being "avant-garde," want to bush at the boundaries (think Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Andrew Hill) without abandoning accessibility. His style is rooted is Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard, but also the under-appreciated Woody Shaw.
Like them, Blanchard keeps the game fresh and vital - nine of the ten tunes are his, and they are well-thought, unpredictable compositions (as opposed to "frameworks" for the soloists to strut their stuff). On MOON, he's joined by a couple of notable vets - saxophonist Branford Marsalis and acoustic bassist Dave Holland (no stranger to these electro-pages & he's played with everyone from Anthony Braxton to Bonnie Raitt) and some names new to me: ace sax-fellows Brice Winston & Aaron Fletcher. Pianist Edward Simon plays with sweet lyricism as well as vigor, and Eric Harland is a stunningly dynamic drummer in the multi-rhythmic Blakey mold. Hey Wynton, dig this!