Terence Blanchard is one of the most prominent brass players, bandleaders and recording artists of his generation.

He began playing piano at age 5, switched to trumpet three years later, and played alongside childhood friend and fellow New Orleans native Wynton Marsalis in summer band camps. In 1982, Blanchard replaced Marsalis in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, working as the band’s lead soloist and musical director until 1986. He then co-led a prominent quintet with saxophonist Donald Harrison.

In the ’90s, Blanchard developed a fruitful working relationship with film director Spike Lee, having first played on the soundtracks to several of Lee’s films including Mo’ Better Blues and Do the Right Thing. Blanchard then composed the music for many of Lee’s subsequent films, like Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Clockers, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, Inside Man and the Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. With more than 40 film scores to his name, Blanchard is one of the most sought-after jazz musicians to ever compose for film.

In its 136-year history, the Metropolitan Opera has never staged an opera by a black composer. But that will finally change. The company said this fall that it will present Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Terence Blanchard in a coming season.

Blanchard is the executive producer, host and narrator of a new documentary called Up from the Streets, a film celebrating 300 years of New Orleans music and culture.

Blanchard joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen for a chat about his past and present projects.