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Terence Blanchard Sextet
A jazz fan with any kind of memory has plenty of reasons to look forward to Terence Blanchard's upcoming stint at Yoshi's. Blanchard, a phenomenal trumpet player who's probably best known for his work scoring Spike Lee's movies, is touring on the strength of his recent album, Jazz in Film. The album is reason enough to see Blanchard and his group live: Its versions of classic jazz film scores for A Streetcar Named Desire, Anatomy of a Murder, The Man With the Golden Arm, and Blanchard's own music for Lee's Clockers expertly balance the lush sound of a full orchestra with a crack jazz sextet that includes Joe Henderson, Steve Turre, and the late Kenny Kirkland.

And, of course, there's Blanchard himself. Sometimes incorrectly tagged as a protege of Wynton Marsalis, he is in fact every bit Wynton's artistic peer, equally adept in cascading Freddie Hubbard-like runs as he is in gutbucket New Orleans-style wails, and since his breakthrough with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in the early '80s, Blanchard has produced a body of work as impressive as that of any jazz musician today. But the best reason to see him might just be Blanchard's track record: When the trumpeter and his group set up shop at Yoshi's, they'll be re-creating the scores from Jazz in Film with just a scaled-down sextet. After composing the music for Lee's Malcolm X in 1993, Blanchard reworked those orchestral themes for his regular small jazz group, and the result, The Malcolm X Jazz Suite, still stands as one of the best jazz albums of the '90s. Though his sextet at Yoshi's won't have the star power of Jazz in Film (sitting in for Henderson and company will be Blanchard's touring group of alto saxophonist Aaron Fletcher, tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, pianist Ed Simon, bassist David Pulphus, and drummer Eric Harland), it's a safe bet that it will generate the same kind of sparks.

-- Ezra Gale

Terence Blanchard Sextet performs Wednesday through Saturday, June 9-12, at 8 p.m. at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Tickets are $18 for shows on Wednesday and Thursday, $22 for Friday and Saturday. Call (510) 238-9200.

 
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