Busy with film and TV scoring, trumpeter Terence Blanchard all but quit playing in the late 90s–last year’s Wandering Moon was only his second release since ’96–but this appears to have had little effect on his popularity. The readers of Downbeat magazine voted him best trumpeter of 2000, christened Wandering Moon the year’s best album, and even named him Jazz Artist of the Year. Blanchard has evolved from an impressively analytical player in the 80s into one of the more accomplished and lyrical melodists of the modern mainstream; his revised approach is well-appointed but not sumptuous, warm toned but cut with brooding undercurrents borrowed from film noir–he seems to have melded salient aspects from the styles of Wynton Marsalis and Chet Baker. On Let’s Get Lost, released in May on Sony Classics, Blanchard makes a picture-perfect escort for four of today’s best-known female vocalists: Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, Dianne Reeves, and Cassandra Wilson. The album honors Depression-era tunesmith Jimmy McHugh, and while some of his most memorable songs–“I’m in the Mood for Love,” “Too Young to Go Steady,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street”–mature gracefully thanks to the gentle irony of Krall and Wilson, they make even better vehicles for Blanchard’s relaxed but piercing improvisations. For this visit the trumpeter will bring a quintet almost identical to the one on the album, and though he won’t have any of the singers in tow, that just means he’ll have more room to spread out his summer-romance sound and ripe melodies, with their unexpected hints of lost opportunity. Tuesday through Thursday, June 5 through 7, 8 and 10 PM, Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, June 10, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 312-670-2473.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carol Friedman.