Terence Blanchard on Adding a Jazz Score to “Father of the Bride”
For the remake of Gaz Alazraki’s “Father of the Bride,” now airing on HBO Max, the beloved classic about a daughter’s impending wedding day was reimagined with a few twists – it went from Connecticut to Miami, and from a white family to a wealthy Cuban-American brood led by Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan, parents of Adria Arjona. Diego Boneta plays the groom, a lawyer from a Mexican family.
For the score, Alazraki turned to composer Terence Blanchard, whose credits include “Mo Better Blues”, “Da 5 Bloods” and “BlacKkKlansman”. As heard on the track “Saving Wedding Montage” (listen above), Blanchard provided his own update – a score with his signature jazz sound.
With the shooting in Miami, how did you approach the score?
When I first read the script I was wondering if they wanted me to do a Latin score because the movie has great Latin artists. But that’s not what Gaz wanted. He wanted a Jazz score to counter what he had already put in the film.
When you say jazz it can mean a whole host of things, so it took us a minute to narrow down what he was looking for. He threw in names like Charlie Christian, an American jazz guitarist, and it completely changed my direction.
I had also written a few different approaches to the film, and once we had them, it was about finding great musicians who could bring the score to life.
What conversations did you have about how to incorporate the score into the film?
I worked with the music producer and talked to him about ideas for musicians to play in the orchestra. It was really about finding the right tone. We discussed it scene by scene. Scoring drama is something I can do in my sleep. I was probably conceived while my mom was watching a drama, but comedy is scary because you don’t have to spoil a joke. Gaz came to New Orleans to sit and walk the stages. It was the first time I had someone in the room while I was writing and performing with Gaz saying, “Not like that anymore.”
Were there any comedy-specific instruments that you used?
We played the comedy by being musically serious. If you look at Andy’s character, Billy, he’s very conservative and traditional. He happens to like jazz. So the trick was not to play comedy, but to make this music refer to who this guy is. Through this lens, you can have the juxtaposition of these other characters. There was no need to act up there, especially with the girl because she’s the friendliest character in the whole movie.
If we had tried to play comedy in the score, I think it would have ruined it. The whole movie comes to that point where Andy’s character, Billy, turns around and says, “This isn’t the wedding you wanted.” The music had to stay in his universe.
Did the characters have patterns and clues?
There were specific themes. Billy had his theme. There was one for his wife [Ingrid]. When you write music and it starts to work for the scene, it only goes further when you incorporate those musical personalities into the plan.