New Orleans jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard won his sixth Grammy Award this week, but he didn’t find out about it until he stepped off an airplane during a stopover on his tour with famed keyboardist Herbie Hancock.

“I am both humbled and honored to have won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for ‘Fire Shut Up In My Bones,’” Blanchard said in a Twitter post. “I was not able to attend this year due to being on the road with the maestro himself,” pointing to Hancock. 

As Blanchard noted, the Grammy was for his opera “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” an adaptation of New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s memoir of the same name. The opera was performed last year to rave reviews at The Metropolitan Opera in New York. 

It was the first time in its 138-year history that the Metropolitan Opera had presented a work by a Black composer.

The New York Times reported that “The music, by Terence Blanchard —  a jazz trumpeter also known for his scores for Spike Lee films — has earned praise from both classical and jazz critics.”

Blanchard, a New Orleans native and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts graduate, is a professor of music and the Kenny Burrell chair at the University of California, Los Angeles. He grew up in Pontchartrain Park and is an Advisory Board member of Verite.

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