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Robert Abrams
Music Reviews
United States
New Orleans, LA

A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)

by Robert Abrams
January 1, 2008
New Orleans, LA
A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) is full of emotional and evocative music. I have played the CD several times trying to figure out what to say about it. I have played it several times, all willingly, which may be the most important assessment. The music, which fits in the Jazz genre, is suitable as a sonic background, filling the room with texture that brings pleasure while allowing one to focus on the work at hand. It also has a rich orchestration* that is amenable to careful listening when there is no work to be done (although in modern America, sometimes that feels like never). This is decidedly not social dance music, but I could easily see interesting modern dance choreography set to it. If anyone does create choreography to the music, send ExploreDance.com a video and we will consider posting it.

This CD was the soundtrack to Spike Lee's HBO documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts", about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. There is certainly an echo of New Orleans in the music, but as with all great music, Mr. Blanchard's compositions both remind us of and transcend their source.

The CD features Terence Blanchard's quintet: pianist Aaron Parks, saxophonist Brice Winston, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott, as well as a 40 member string orchestra. The CD has been released through Blue Note Records.

Terence Blanchard - A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) is available on iTunes: Terence Blanchard - A Tale of God

* The press materials claim that "there was no money for orchestration". This may be true, but the music doesn't sound like it was done on the cheap. Clearly, Mr. Blanchard produced a quality musical product, even if he was working with a small budget.
Album cover for Terence Blanchard's A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)

Album cover for Terence Blanchard's A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)

Photo © & courtesy of Blue Note Records

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