Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cindy Blackman - 1997 "In The NOW!"

Cindy Blackman (born November 18, 1959), sometimes known as Cindy Blackman-Santana, is an American jazz and rock drummer. Blackman is best known for recording and touring with Lenny Kravitz.[citation needed] Blackman has recorded several jazz albums under her own name, and has performed with Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Simmons, Ron Carter, Sam Rivers, Cassandra Wilson, Angela Bofill, Buckethead, Bill Laswell and Joe Henderson. Tony Williams is her main drumming influence. In 1997 she recorded Multiplicity as a drum teaching video. "To me, jazz is the highest form of music that you can play because of the creative requirements", says Blackman. Blackman is married to rock guitarist Carlos Santana.

Cindy Blackman has proved herself as an accomplished percussionist who doesn't overdo it, but there's something missing from this outing. Although she has tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (who also doubles on soprano sax), pianist Jacky Terrasson (who switches to the bland Fender Rhodes electric piano on several songs), and bassist Ron Carter on hand (and none of them plays badly), most of her compositions, which make up the bulk of the CD, just don't hold one's interest. Once clear exception is the lively post-bop "Happy House." A treatment of rocker Lenny Kravitz' "Let Love Rule" adds a bit of variety, though little else. Instead, check out Blackman's earlier efforts for High Note and the now-defunct Muse.

Cindy can out and out play. She swings and she can embellish. This recording succeeds because it incorporates so many good elements. It is reminiscent of Miles' "Filles De Killimanjaro" in certain ways. The pieces are loose, rhythmic and all have a dark beauty. Many of the pieces have a sense of pacing. There is grace and power.

Her drumming is superb and would make Tony Williams smile with her creativity on these pieces. Ron Carter is on bass, with his unique style, power and subtleties.

Ravi Coltrane is an excellent choice for this type of music. He never overplays, he swings, grooves, plays soulfully with his own unique style and tone. He shines on every piece. His playing on "King Among Men" is striking. His soprano work on "Passage" is stunning. He's influenced by his father in tone, but has a Joe Henderson/Wayne Shorter-like economy with his notes.

Cindy is wonderful throughout. She plays with a power that brings Tony Williams to mind. That is not to say that she sounds just like Tony, but more, is as forceful and is as creative with that forcefulness. Her cymbal work also shines on these pieces. She has a unique voice on the drums. More people should become aware of Cindy Blackman.

Jacky Terrasson is outstanding. I was familiar with his outstanding acoustic work, but here on electric piano he shows us a different side of him. He's a natural. He's at home with the pieces. There's a warmth to his playing, he never over intelectualizes. He plays with sensitivity, swing and feeling. He has big ears and gives each piece exactly what it needs. On "Passage" he plays both electric and acoustic and he segues seamlessly from one another "Passage" is an example of this.

Ron Carter is essential in this enviromnent. He's so adept, ever present, bringing a certain pulse to every piece as he did back in that classic quintet. He doesn't have to play alot of notes, yet his presence resonates throughout.

The pieces here are all great vehicles for improvisation and they do. For all of you who enjoyed Miles' classic quintet, well here's a recording that while featuring a saxophonist, a excellent one at that, will please you.

Track list:

1     In The Now     6:45
2     A Banana For Ron     3:22
3     Passage     6:40
4     A King Among Men (For Tony Williams, My Hero)     5:00
5     Sophia     7:24
6     Prince Of Darkness     7:13
7     Happy House     4:34
8     A Strawberry For Cindy     4:30
9     Let Love Rule     7:55


    Bass – Ron Carter
    Drums – Cindy Blackman
    Piano, Fender Rhodes – Jacky Terrasson
    Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Ravi Coltrane



  2. thanks, here's cindy w/ bennie maupin,julian preister, george colligan and buster williams

  3. Thanks for the great music! Both of you.