I recently saw the film, “Harriet“, the riveting biopic about Harriet Tubman. At some point during the screening I recognized that the music was constantly demanding my attention. Some, of course, would say that a score should merge with the video. Good scores do that. Remarkable ones demand more of your attention. I wasn’t that surprised then that at the end of the film the score was credited to the composer and jazz trumpeter Terrence Blanchard. Blanchard has come a long way since scoring a string of films for Spike Lee and we are all the beneficiaries. He is a five-time GRAMMY Award winner and Oscar nominee for BlacKkKlansman.
Blanchard has in fact been on my mind since he blew me away a couple of weeks earlier here in Miami with a mind-blowing show, “Caravan: A Revolution on the Road.” “Caravan” is a collaboration between Blanchard and a small group of crack musicians labled the E-Collective, choreographer Renni Harris’ company, Puremovement, and sculptor/projection mapping artist Andrew Scott. It was an amazing evening of modern dance with urban movements reminiscent of break dancing set against an ever-changing backdrop of ethereal figures that combined shots of the dancers and musicians with Scott’s artistic renderings focusing on issues of social change.
And there, occupying center stage was Blanchard and his crew creating textual sounds that firmly held the entire thing together. To label the music muscular would be a slight understatement. It was “ripped” would be more like it. Liberally taking riffs from Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson; Bitches’ Brew; and pushing them forward 50 years. It was a “lifting” experience that blended great auditory messages with visual excitement from the dancers and the backdrop.
“Caravan” is a transcendent work of art. Make sure you see it and allow yourself to be transformed.