drummer Cindy Blackman
- I saw her perform June 16th at our annual Jazz festival 5:30pm
She is considered a power drummer and she is definately tight. 4 piece band:keyboard/pianist, stand up bass, sax and drums
Hour long set that had the crowd on their feet.
The Resounding Sound of Cindy Blackman
Published: October 15, 2003
The first thing one notices about the Cindy Blackman Quartet is that its got style. Blackmans layered, gauze-like attire, bassist George Mitchels thick dreads and nose piercing, and piano/keyboardist Carlton Holms euro-chic, technophile garb immediately signify a departure from conventional jazzs traditional jacket and tie presentation. Some might dismiss these stylistic factors as showbiz elements held over from Blackmans rock experiences, particularly her time as drummer for Lenny Kravitz. But this is doubtful. Confronting a musician with such extreme dedication and talent as Blackman has, these departures seem to reflect the distinct character of her musical personality and artistic aspirations, one of which is evidently mastery of percussive possibilities. It is a stretch of the imagination that Blackman, at this point in her career, is very much influenced by anything other than herself.
The next curiosity that jumps out is the array of keyboards surrounding Holms, one deck stationed directly on top of the house acoustic. However, the final clue these cats are up to something different is Blackmans drum set.
Its not that many top-notch percussionists dont haul their own traps gig to gig, its the fact that Blackmans is both beautifully crafted and exceptionally sleek, featuring afor jazzrelatively large bass, a series of deep toms, and a compliment of seemingly mismatched, dulled-bronze cymbals. A drummers choice and arrangement of cymbals can provide a lot of insight. The cymbal sound, like a painters brushstroke, often becomes the signature aspect of a players style. It is unusual for one ride to both ping cleanly and swell with a full depth of overtones, so a consternating balance must be struck by every percussionist based on the preferences of the player and the nature of each musical environment. Cymbal searches, the relative merits of manufacturers, casting years, thickness, dimensions, and the qualities of individual cymbals often occupy a large percentage of drummers conversations and mental space. No two cymbals sound alike. Thats why youll almost always see drummers affixing their own hi-hats, crashes and rides to house sets, no matter what quality of equipment the club offers. Yet surveying Blackmans set-up before she took the stage for last Thursdays show at the club Blues Alley, it was somehow apparent before hearing a single ping from Blackmans wide, dimpled ride, that it was prepared to provide a penetrating ring replete with rich, rolling overtones. (This presentiment proved uncannily accurate. Throughout the night, Blackman extracted from that pounded metal disc a ride chime of such clarity and so laden with ripple upon ripple of sonorous, resonant overtones that with eyes closed youd swear she was striking two completely different devices; an effect explainable only by an uncommonly beautiful instrument and excellent technique.)
read the rest here: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=633
Born in Ohio and raised in Connecticut, Cindy began her musical career as a New York street performer. She spent three semesters at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and also studied with legendary teacher Alan Dawson. Cindy moved to New York City in the 80's and since that time, she has been seen and heard by millions of people all over the world performing with her own group and during her 11 year stint with retro funk rocker Lenny Kravitz, from 1993-2004.
In 1998, Cindy released her first drumming instructional video entitled, "Multiplicity" through Warner Brothers publications.
Cindy has been touted as "one of the hottest drummers in the business, by the Star-Gazette and is regarded as one of the top drummers in the world. She is a solid, dependable drummer who can easily move from straight-ahead jazz to rock to funk and back again.
She's upheld the backbeat and created texture for a veritable "Who's Who" in jazz: Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Don Pullen, Hugh Masekela, Pharaoh Sanders, Sam Rivers, Cassandra Wilson, Angela Bofill, Bill Laswell, Buckethead.
In early 2000, Cindy released the latest of her several acclaimed solo albums entitled "Works on Canvas." She released her seventh solo release "Someday" in 2004.
"Some drummers act, some react. Some keep time, others create it. Cindy Blackman is among the few who can...." says Mike Zwerin of the International Herald Tribune. One listen to her latest release, Works On Canvas (featuring J.D. Allen-Tenor Saxophone, Carlton Holmes-Piano/Fender Rhodes, George Mitchell-Bass) and you'll agree.
Talking Drum said, "You can be assured that Ms. Blackman will be around for a long time to come.." She is thunder. She is fire. She is energy. She is passion. She is Cindy Blackman.
According to Cindy herself, "The life of music is bigger than all of us."
From her beginnings as a New York street performer, Blackmans rising star has been seen by millions of people all over the world performing with her own group as well as providing the percussive backbone for retro funk rocker Lenny Kravitz. She has also appeared on Saturday Night Live, The David Letterman Show, Arsenio Hall, The Tonight Show, the UKs Top of the Pops, Black Entertainment Television and the 1993 MTV Video Awards. She has recently completed her first drumming instructional video entitled, Multiplicity.
Jon Pareles of The New York Times says about her performances with Kravitz, Cindy Blackman on drums could switch from the splashy, sludgy style of the Jimi Hendrix Experiences Mitch Mitchell to the casual economy of Ringo Starr to the crisp repetitions of James Browns funky drummers. Zwerin also says, ...her strength is a variety of texture rather than one particularly evident style. She plays hard softly, aggressive but supportive, distinctive without encroaching.
A force in her own right, Blackman puts the heart and soul of her music above all else. A true artist, she plays for the moment as if shes directly inside each note, playing each beat as if it were a melody. Close your eyes and listen. You can imagine that she can harness the power of thunder within her hands. When you open your eyes and watch her perform, you realize that she doesnt just merely play the drums, she becomes the drums. Her playing is forceful, yet passionate enough to stir the soul. From the syncopated dance of her ride cymbal to the thunder of her snare, her dynamic sensibilities invoke the stylings of her mentor, Art Blakey and source of inspiration, Tony Williams. Her other influences include: Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Thelonius Monk, Max Roach, John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Jack DeJohnette, Pete LaRoca and Billie Holiday.
But drumming isnt the only venue Blackman takes command of: her skill as a composer on her latest release, In the Now, evokes the spirits of 60s era Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Her sense of melody and chordal texture equals the passion and fire she brings to her drumming. Yet on A King Among Men (a tribute to her hero, Tony Williams) and Sophia she offers tender, sophisticated arrangements and sweet, solemn melodies that have the ability to transport the listener to another realm.
Over the years, Blackman has graced the covers of Talking Drum, Drum, the UK publication Rhythm and the Dutch publication Slagwerkkrant. She has also been featured in Modern Drummer, Downbeat and Musician. In 1997, Blackman opened for the legendary Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Soul Brother Number One inscribed on one of her cymbals To the female king, youre too awesome to be queen.
Talking Drum said, ...you can be assured that Ms. Blackman will be around for a long time to come. She is thunder. She is fire. She is energy. She is passion. She is Cindy Blackman.
Pictures and Bio from the official Cindy Blackman Site