He may be one of the proudest sons of New Orleans. Proud of his Crescent City heritage, his love permeates everything he does, whether as composer, player, mentor or bandleader. His creativity is equally broad in range as it is breathtakingly brilliant. His musical palate is everything from opera and incidental music for the stage to scoring for film.

His work for Spike Lee movies is outstanding. The art jazz composition A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) was a Grammy winner in 2008. Lee commissioned Blanchard to compose the score for the HBO documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, a multimedia artistic expression of post-Hurricane Katrina agony.

Poet laureate is a title given to exceptional poets — a position recognizing artistic expression officially speaking as the voice of a community, city, region or nation. Griot (gree-oh) is a West African word used to this day by African-Americans and those of the African diaspora to describe the storytellers and those who spoke and speak the voices of the cultures of African heritage. Terence Blanchard is a griot. Every note and phrase celebrates, touches, remembers, excites, entices and demands attention.