In 2015, New Orleans-born jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard released an album called “Breathless.” The title was a direct reference to “I can’t breathe,” the last words of Eric Garner, a young black man who died in 2014 at the hands of New York police officers.
In early 2017, the multiple Grammy winner, whose accomplishments include a dozen Spike Lee film scores, embarked on an even more ambitious project. With his band the E-Collective, Blanchard recorded his next album, “Live,” in three cities: Minneapolis, Cleveland and Dallas.
In all three, encounters between police and African-Americans had ended in gunshots and deaths. Philando Castile was shot and killed in Minneapolis by a police officer in 2016, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland in 2014. Five Dallas police officers died in an ambush in 2016 during an otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.
While in Minneapolis, Blanchard and his band visited the school where Philando Castile worked. They talked with kids who knew him and people who worked with him. They met with community members.
“Live” came out in 2018. “Caravan: A Revolution on the Road,” which comes to the Ordway on Saturday night, is the next step toward what Blanchard hopes will be positive social change.
For “Caravan,” Blanchard and the E-Collective collaborated with hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris and his dance company, Puremovement, and visual artist Andrew Scott. Through live music, dance and synchronized video projections, the performance aims to transcend racial and social boundaries, heal hearts and change minds – especially as that pertains to conflicts between law enforcement and the unarmed African-American public. Seven dancers will be on stage with Blanchard and his band as Scott’s video plays on a big screen behind them. Here’s a video clip.
After a performance in Dallas in April, the audience was reportedly moved to tears.
“Caravan” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Ordway Music Theater. Wanting to make it widely accessible, the Ordway is offering a pay-what-you-wish option starting at $5 – with no fees. Ticket prices are $5-45 for any seat in the house. As of this writing, some very good seats remain. FMI and tickets.
The lobby will open at 6:30 p.m. for an Ordway Extra, “Art Healing the Wounds of Social Justice.” This will include a conversation moderated by Robin P. Hickman, CEO and executive producer of SoulTouch Productions; an art installation with fashion by Neil Taylor of True Hedz Clothing; and information about a community peace garden inspired by Castile’s death.
On Friday, two school performances of “Caravan” are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with $4 tickets and bus reimbursement for all. Schools, call 651-282-3115.
On Friday evening at Walker West Music Academy, Blanchard will lead a master class for its youth jazz ensembles. The class will start at 6 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. The Ordway is sponsoring this event.
Tonight (Thursday, Oct. 24) at TPT: Jack El-Hai “The Lost Brothers” book and “Long Lost” podcast launch. On Nov. 10, 1951, three boys went to play in Fairview Park in north Minneapolis. Kenny, David and Danny – ages 8, 6 and 4 – were never seen again. Minneapolis author Jack El-Hai (“The Nazi and the Psychiatrist,” “The Lobotomist”) has been hooked on the case for 20 years. Just out from the University of Minnesota Press, “The Lost Brothers” chronicles one of the country’s oldest active missing-child investigations, a genuine mystery and every parent’s worst nightmare. The podcast will be produced by TPT. 172 E. 4th St., St. Paul. 6:30 p.m. Drinks and light appetizers will be provided. FMI and RSVP. Free.
Starts Thursday at the Southern: Twin Cities Horror Festival VIII. It’s alive! And it’s no joke. The eighth edition of the TCHF wants to make you scream and squirm. With 13 shows running (and repeating) over 11 days, you have plenty of chances to jump out of your seat. In “Bug Girl,” told in large-scale horror shadow puppets, a young girl swallows a strange insect and bad things happen. AMP is the story of Mary Shelley, creator of “Frankenstein.” And “Charcoal Moon” may make you think twice about space exploration. Meanwhile, Funerals for Life is back and up to its old tricks – living embalming sessions in the lobby. You’re the corpse. FMI including complete lineup, schedule, packages ($55-180) and individual tickets ($15). Through Nov. 3. Note: A Vikings game and protest Thursday at US Bank Stadium will make parking scarier than usual.
Friday through Sunday at the Show Gallery Lowertown: 25th Annual Artability Art Show & Sale. For 50 years, People Incorporated has provided integrated behavioral and mental health services in Minnesota. For half of those years, it has hosted an annual art show and sale of work by people with mental illnesses. This year’s show will feature more than 400 pieces of high-quality art by more than 100 artists from the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. Artists will take home 80 percent of the proceeds; the rest will help support People Incorporated’s year-round Artability workshops. This year’s theme: “Greatest of All Time (GOAT).” Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Free.
Friday through Sunday at the Cowles: James Sewell Ballet: “Opera Moves.” A remount of Sewell’s “Opera Moves” – ballet set to emotional opera arias, inspired by Sewell’s experience dancing with the New York City Opera – will be joined by two new works in what promises to be a performance of balletic elegance. Former JSB member Jennifer Hart’s “Bloom,” set to Schubert’s adagio from the String Quartet in C major, captures the essence of flowering. Eve Schulte explores ideas of leaving and travel in “Yonder,” with live music by singer/keyboardist Linnea Mohn. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. FMI and tickets ($36). FirstChanceDance, a sensory-friendly performance for children (complete with a costume parade), will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. FMI and tickets ($10).
Saturday at the Cedar: The Daily Show Writers. Matt Koff, Kat Radley, David Angelo and Joe Opio are the writers who write the jokes that Trevor Noah tells each night on Comedy Central’s premiere late-night show. Koff also wrote for Noah’s precursor, the immortal Jon Stewart, and won an Emmy for that work. On this tour, they’ll perform their own material – jokes you won’t see on TV. General admission seated show; 16+. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. FMI and tickets ($25).