Cindy Blackman: Another Lifetime

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Cindy Blackman
LABELS: Four Quarters
PERFORMER: Cindy Blackman (drums), Doug Carn (organ), Joe Lovano (sax), Mike Stern (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: FQTCD1820

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When Cindy Blackman’s first recordings appeared in the late-80s she seemed to have sprung, fully-armed and formidably-skilled, out of the sun: few had seen her coming. Yet, of course, she had been paying dues, both as composer and performer, working assiduously until opportunities arose. She learned much from Art Blakey, and early recordings evoked his Jazz Messengers, but her earliest significant influence was 

Tony Williams and, as the title suggests, this album is a tribute to him, to his spirit: Blackman is no mere copyist of any stylistic letter. She is impressive whether driving a ferocious beat, creating intricate percussive backdrops or conversing, as on ‘Love Song’, a superb duet with Joe Lovano.

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This is the track most likely to appeal to jazz purists, but don’t dismiss the others because of their fusion flavour: this is exciting, stimulating music however you label it, with everyone, not least Stern, on scorching form. Barry Witherden