The crucible of catastrophe impels creative expression. Since the turn of the century, this has taken shape in manifold ways, from artistic responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the war in Iraq to the pummeling of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is this latter calamity that informs Crescent City native son Terence Blanchard's impassioned song cycle, A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina), a 13-track emotional tour de force of anger, rage, compassion, melancholy and beauty. A Tale of God's Will, which features Blanchard's quintet—pianist Aaron Parks, saxophonist Brice Winston, bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Kendrick Scott—as well as a 40-member string orchestra, is his third album for Blue Note Records. (Since signing with the label in 2003, Blanchard has released two other critically acclaimed albums, Bounce and Flow, the latter of which was nominated for two Grammys in 2006.)
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[The musicians] are able to take these compositions and immediately translate them into the particular sound of Terence's band, which in many ways reminds me of what used to happen with Miles. —Herbie Hancock
His impressive new album for Blue Note [is] a purposeful convergence of his film-composer and jazz-musician identities... The result is a melancholy suite that feels both intensely personal and broadly cinematic. —The New York Times