Cindy Blackman

COMPOSERS: Cindy Blackman
WORKS: The Oracle
PERFORMER: Cindy Blackman (d); Gary Bartz (as, ss); Kenny Barron (p); Ron Carter (b)
CATALOGUE NO: MCD 5542 (distr. New Note)
Cindy Blackman is typical of the young, bursting-at-the-seams talent that can currently be found at work on the highly competitive New York jazz scene. 1992’s Telepathy (Muse MCD 5437) with her then regular group, including yet-to-be-discovered keyboard whizz Jacky Terrasson, saw her impelled to impart every bit of knowledge she had learnt since beginning her career as a child prodigy in the Seventies. Still playing as if her life depended on it, she swings a band of elder statesmen into exhaustion on this, her fourth album for Muse. With a conscious kowtow in the direction of Miles Davis, she prods and cajoles, usually succeeding in raising the creative temperature with her I’ll-try-it-if-I-want-to bravado. Not a drummer to whom quiet persuasion comes easily, she relishes the high-risk game of creative dialogue, her fast hands filling any spaces with such abandon it’s a joy to hear. Kenny Barron, the most in-demand pianist in New York, previously appeared with Blackman on 1990’s Code Red (Muse) and again steers an unperturbed course of elegance and invention through the swirls and eddies of the drummer’s forthright style, particularly on ‘A.J.’. In an age of photogenic young men in lounge suits grabbing all the major label contracts, it is something of an irony that this photogenic young lady with ability to spare still hovers on the margins. SN