Day Three, continued: Terence and Herbie


I was on my own that night for Terence Blanchard at Snug Harbor because try as he might, the poor Robeau just wasn't up to it. Dinner was mediocre, the line up was long and the Texan tourists were pushy, but it was all worth it. I've seen Terence in club settings four times in Toronto over the last twelve or so years, but experience has taught me that each time was unique and wonderful. This was no exception. Snug Harbor is a nice, intimate club that makes a mean cosmo and is clearly well known as one of the best clubs in town for a reason.

What a pleasure to see these fine gentlemen perform that night...

Terence Blanchard: Trumpet
Brice Winston: Sax
Aaron Parks: Piano
Kendrick Scott: Drums
Derrick Hodge: Bass
Lionel Loueke: Guitar and Vocalese

The set, which began close to 11pm after they had already played one long set at the club and an earlier set at Jazz Fest, started off with "Wandering Wonder" off of Terence's new release "Flow". That was followed by a long, inventive version of "I Thought About You" which never really ended, just morphed into a haunting solo trumpet version of "Ave Maria" which was enormously touching, for obvious reasons, coming as it did from this hometown boy.

Then, a truly magical moment - Terence asked Herbie Hancock to join the band on stage. When we were standing in line earlier we saw Herbie enter the club. In fact, his entrance sparked my first outburst of the trip...the cranky woman in line behind me saw that Herbie and a few friends were let into the club. She kept shouting "They're letting all these people in and we're standing in line!" The woman wanted to be heard. So I answered. I wheeled around and said "Bitch! That's HERBIE HANCOCK!" Okay, the "Bitch" was silent, but I said it in my head. I am happy to say that a few fellow fans in the line applauded my little outburst. The woman looked completely perplexed. I'm sure she had no idea why everyone in the club lost their minds when the guy they "let in" sat down at the piano. Dumb ass. But I digress.

Hancock took the stage and frankly, the rest of the number was not unlike an out of body experience. He opened the tune solo and it took a couple of minutes before anyone joined him. Lionel Loueke seemed the most uninhibited in Herbie's presence (he had played with him earlier at Jazz Fest). Terence seemed starstruck, despite the fact that Herbie Produced his most recent album on Blue Note and they obviously have a relationship. There was a moment during the number when everything shifted and these fine, fine musicians onstage who we all stood in line and paid good money to see were suddenly "with us". Herbie stood alone. It was unreal. I was sitting right up front and at one point, when Herbie was soloing, I looked at the woman sitting beside me and we shook our heads and laughed...then I looked up and caught Terence's eye and we did the same, in utter disbelief at the wonder of the moment.

After Herbie left and youngster Aaron Parks reclaimed his perch at the piano they played one more number (Transform from "Bounce") and as good as they were earlier in the set, they were now playing at a whole different level of inventiveness. Terence and Brice Winston were both pitching in and playing percussion on their horns and the mic packs with their rings. Kendrick Scott pulled off a drum solo that left the crowd gasping for air and wanting more. I'd be hard pressed to think of another musical experience that left me feeling so much like I was a part of something. It was a truly incredible night. I'll never forget it.


  1. Anonymous9:14 AM

    BT liked the story about the cranky woman being taken down a peg or two. Put her in mind of a little kid she saw at Exhibition Stadium once.


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