Flow, the new Blue Note release from Terence Blanchard, may be the best jazz release of the year. I’ve been listening to this release over and over and always find something interesting. Flow covers many musical directions, from African chants to an infusion of electronic soundscapes. Blanchard’s band, the primary musicians on the recording (no “guest stars” other than producer Herbie Hancock), is tight. The musicians aren’t afraid to let loose and several tracks fall into the hard-bop category. The song “Over There,” is emotional and intense. All of the tracks sound inspired and challenging. In fact, given that the band is an equal attraction to Blanchard on the recording and contributes the majority of the compositions, I don’t know why the Terence Blanchard Band isn’t the headliner.
So, you’ve got eleven great compositions, a killer band, and guaranteed to get your money’s worth because of multiple listens. Get into Flow on June 7.