When I heard that Terence Blanchard named his latest tour “Caravan,” I figured it had to do with the Juan Tizol-Duke Ellington tune that Blanchard must have played again and again as a young trumpeter in drummer Art Blakey’s band.
Nope. It was meant more to suggest “a group of like-minded people moving around the country with a message,” Blanchard told me.
As I worked on a long piece for The Daily Beast about Blanchard—on connections between his band’s current tour and the aftermath of senseless violence, and on his ambitions as both musician and concerned citizen—I kept having to update the story to reflect breaking news: Blanchard gets nominated for a Best-Score Oscar; another black man gets shot by another white cop; Trump tweeted what?; the Met Opera announces Blanchard’s opera as its first presentation composed by an African American…
Just last week I was wrestling with writing a poem, and I sought out Steve Dalachinsky’s advice. Maybe I just wanted his blessing.
My poem was about September 11 and though it was sincere and maybe even a bit elegant, it was also rather obvious. I’m not a poet.
Steve was. He shot back some smart and encouraging comments by email. Then he sent a poem of his, a tribute to trumpeter Booker Little. It spoke of “a trumpet forged from bullets,” and had passages like this: