Terence Blanchard - "Levees"
American jazz trumpeter Terence Oliver Blanchard started his career in 1980 as a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, then Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He has composed more than forty film scores and performed on more than fifty.
Since 2000, Blanchard has served as artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. In 2011 he was named artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami. In the fall of 2015 he was named a visiting scholar in jazz composition at Berklee College of Music
Film director Spike Lee commissioned New Orleans native Terence Blanchard to compose the score for his 2006 four-hour HBO documentary "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts", to show the agony of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2007 Blanchard recorded "A Tale of God's Will", which contains parts ("The Water", "Levees", "Wading Through", and "Funeral Dirge") of the recording that were heard in Lee's documentary. Blanchard's mother, Wilhelmina, lost her Pontchartrain Park home in the tragedy, but survived. The recording closes with "Dear Mom", Blanchard's heartfelt tribute to her.
Blanchard was accompanied by his quintet and the Northwest Sinfonia, a 40-member string orchestra (which he conducted and co-orchestrated). "Levees", opens with melancholy strings, provided by the Northwest Sinfonia orchestra, and as Blanchard's trumpet eases into the mix, one can imagine old and tired levees straining to hold back the water that never ceases to push against them.
As the levees holding the Brazos river are strained to bursting right now, which would certainly flood entire neighborhoods of the greater Houston Area (including my Mother's and Brother's homes), this song comes to me in reference to an earlier tragedy that hit our nation. For everyone's sake, I hope the levees hold, but if they don't I know we will be there for each other to lift one another back up.
So today, with fear mounting like stormclouds, I choose Terence Blanchard's "Levees" as my, with somber hope, with strength in love, with hopefully dry shoes, song for a, together we stand, hold on to each other, Texas Strong, Tuesday.