Jenny Bagert
Terence Blanchard

The Terence Blanchard Quartet will inaugurate the 2012 Jazz SLC series at the Capitol Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

A "trumpet players' trumpet player," Blanchard brings with him a tight and energetic group of musicians that echoes the exploratory vision of one of jazz's most influential composer/directors.

A favorite musician and composer for film director Spike Lee's highly acclaimed movies "Malcolm X" and "Mo' Better Blues," Blanchard's musical compositions and scores have also highlighted movies for studios including Warner Brothers, Bluebird Pictures, HBO and Universal Pictures.

Blanchard's most recent compositions and recordings are informed by events that have affected our nation, from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

When Lee decided to film the documentary "When the Levees Broke," he selected Blanchard, a native of New Orleans. The result was "A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)," recorded in 2007.

"This is what we are called to do as artists," Blanchard said recently. "We document our social surroundings and give the impressions of events. The problem with Katrina is that the devastation is so vast that there has only been a trickle of art so far. We're all still digesting what went on and what continues to happen."

For Blanchard, the most demanding and difficult part of the composition was to remain semi-detached from his own narrative.

"I was so frustrated and in rage, I wanted the trumpet to scream on every track, but I feel that God is using me to speak for all the souls in New Orleans," he said. "We are all still tired, but it's almost as if things have gone back to normal for people outside while our lives here don't matter."

Joining Blanchard onstage will be Joshua Crumbly on bass, Justin Brown on drums, Brice Wilson on tenor sax and Fabian Almazan on piano.

Jeff Metcalf is a professor of English at the University of Utah and an avid jazz fan.

If you go …

What: Terence Blanchard Quintet

Where: Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South

When: Wednesday, Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $30

Phone: 801-278-0235