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Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard had already worked on 13 of Spike Lee’s films when the director asked him to both appear in and score When the Levees Broke, the documentary chronicling the destruction of Blanchard’s hometown, New Orleans. This time, the experience proved so overwhelming that it spawned an entirely new project: 2007’s Grammy-winning A Tale of God’s Will (Requiem for Katrina), his finest and most moving album. Its ambition belies its subtlety—capturing the Crescent City’s tragedy and bereavement without the bombast that a suite for jazz quintet and 40-piece string section implies. In only two years, Blanchard’s work has proved an essential part of any tribute to the cultural legacy of New Orleans—including the 2009 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, at which Blanchard will perform A Tale of God’s Will at twilight.

BLANCHARD PERFORMS AT 6:25 P.M. AT THE SYLVAN AMPHITHEATER, 15TH ST. & INDEPENDENCE AVE. SW. FREE.