Duke & Jimmy
Terence Blanchard: My Top 5 Movie Scores
Terence Blanchard

Terence Blanchard is the Oscar-nominated composer behind film scores including Harriet (2019), BlacKkKlansman (2018), and 25th Hour (2002), among many others. In 2020, he penned the music for One Night in Miami, available on Amazon Prime, and Da 5 Bloods, available on Netflix. 

My name is Terence Blanchard and I'm a composer and a jazz musician. And I am here to give my five favorite films where I love the scores. Two of them I think are historically significant for different reasons, but I think you'll enjoy this entire list. 

I'm going to start with my number one score of all time: Anatomy of a Murder by Duke Ellington. I think Duke really changed the course of music with this score. It seemed to set a tone that was uniquely different from anything else that you'd heard at the time and it seemed to open up new doors for expression in the world of film.

My next film, my number two film is Glory. That score is just amazing. First of all, I was blown away by the power of that score. But when I was playing with Art Blakey, who was known to be a bit of a storyteller who could fabricate ideas, he used to always tell us about the 54th Infantry.

And we didn't know if he was fabricating or if it was the truth. And when I saw Glory and learned more about the 54th Infantry, I was just blown away. Denzel's performance in it was amazing. And the score was just off the chain. 

My third film is one that I worked on. I think it's a film that was overlooked, it's called Talk to Me, and it stars Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Kasi Lemmons, who was the director, did an amazing job putting that story together. And it's historically significant because it's about a great radio DJ who during the time of the riots in DC went on air to calm things down in the city after Martin Luther King was killed. And his story is a very powerful and engaging one between him and one of his radio producers. The love affair between those two as two heterosexual men who just loved each other as friends was just a powerful story. 

The Shawshank Redemption I think is one of the greatest of all time because it defies convention. I always wonder about what the pitch was to sell the film to the studios because that film was so unique and Thomas Newman's score just really set the tone for his generation and film scoring. And I've told Tom this, I think what he did was totally brilliant utilizing all of these instruments for their strengths and not their weaknesses.

And my last favorite film that I have on this list is Man on Fire, another Denzel Washington performance. But the score by Harry Gregson-Williams is just incredible. I often look at him as being a bit of a chameleon. Being able to have the music turn on a dime, two bars, go this way, and two bars go another way, and it works perfectly. His creative genius is just off the chain.

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Anatomy of a Murder
Talk To Me
The Shawshank Redemption
Man On Fire
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