“The saxophonist Wayne Shorter is considered a modern jazz deity, a guiding light for generations of players. His lustre is only a shade less radiant than, say, that of John Coltrane or Ornette Coleman. With Absence, the trumpeter Terence Blanchard pays tribute to the influential octogenarian composer in a project that reconsiders a handful of Shorter’s works (including the emblematic “Fall” and “Diana”), along with originals dedicated to the iconic patriarch. Employing his plugged-in E-Collective unit, with ample contributions from the Turtle Island Quartet, and tellingly shedding any additional wind instruments, Blanchard avoids deliberate stylistic intimations of Shorter’s own classic work, or of his collaborations with both Miles Davis and Weather Report, in favor of a lush and dramatic soundscape that calls to mind Blanchard’s career as a successful film composer. A forthright project like Absence best honors the staunchly venturesome Shorter by going its own way.” THE NEW YORKER
Terence Blanchard has released Absence, a stunning new album on the Blue Note label, paying tribute to legendary composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Featuring the acclaimed trumpeter with The E-Collective—pianist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Charles Altura, bassist David Ginyard, and drummer Oscar Seaton—and the Turtle Island Quartet led by violinist/artistic director David Balakrishnan with Gabe Terracciano on violin, Benjamin von Gutzeit on viola, and Malcom Parson on cello, the album presents pieces written by Shorter as well as original compositions by Blanchard and members of his band.
The tracklisting for Absence is as follows:
Absence (David Ginyard)
The Elders (Wayne Shorter)
I Dare You (Intro) (Terence Blanchard)
I Dare You (Blanchard)
Envisioned Reflections (Intro) (Ginyard)
Envisioned Reflections (Ginyard)
The Second Wave (David Balakrishnan)
When It Was Now (Shorter)
Dark Horse (Charles Altura)
More Elders (Shorter)
Produced by Terence Blanchard & Robin Burgess
“I’m proud to have a chance to visit some of the music that has shaped my musical identity,” says Blanchard. “Pairing Wayne Shorter’s music with original works from The E-Collective along with the sonic colors of The Turtle Island Quartet has been an amazing experience. Wayne has said before ‘Jazz means I Dare You,’ so why not dare to be creative and pay homage at the same time,” said Blanchard.
The release of Absence comes at an especially prolific time for Blanchard whose opera Fire Shut Up In My Bones will open the 2021-22 season of The Metropolitan Opera in New York City on September 27, making it the first opera by a black composer in the 136-year history of the Met. In addition, Blanchard has just wrapped up scoring Spike Lee’s upcoming and much-anticipated HBO documentary about New York City, NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ which premiered this fall. Blanchard will also commence writing for the second season of the HBO series Perry Mason.
Listen to the album through Spotify or YouTube below.
Blanchard will also be touring throughout 2021 and 2022 in support of the album release, which included a free outdoor concert on August 6 with The E-Collective and the Turtle Island Quartet in New York City’s Bryant Park as part of the Carnegie Hall Citywide concert series.
“The weight of being is measured in Absences. Consider what’s held between the lingering stares of heavy-hearted eyes, the pulses beating when words are left unsaid, or restless palms desperate to meet again. We are prone to losing grace in absence. We meander from ourselves, lose track of incorporeal tethers, uncertain to be grounded again. A year and some change in absence of each other while feeling the same things makes for quite the emotional conundrum. But absence is kin to zero in that they pine after absolute grace. It’s easy to figure that we don’t measure up. Or that carrying ourselves through a day is all that we can manage. Or that deep breaths are a luxury. The reality is the distance between one another is a straight line. Wayne Shorter is known to bestow grace upon us when we are restless in absence.” JORDAN BLANCHARD