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Today in Music – Nov 18, 1959 – Jazz/Rock Drummer Cindy Blackman is Born! Happy Birthday Mrs. Santana!!

Cindy BlackmanThe first jazz artist that caught my eye when I reviewed the birthday list this morning at All About Jazz was Cindy Blackman and the reason was simple she is a drummer!!  I do believe that there are not that many of them around!!  What I didn’t know at the time, aside from who the hell she is, was that in the spring of 2010 Cindy sat in with Carlos Santana when the band’s drummer  Dennis Chambers had a previous commitment. Cindy and Carlos had first met several years earlier at a festival in Europe when Cindy was touring with Lenny Kravitz. .By July of 2010 Carlos proposed to Cindy and the two were married in December! So who besides Mrs Carlos Santana is this Cindy Blackman. A stop at Wikipedia was in order……
Cindy Blackman (born November 18, 1959), sometimes known as Cindy Blackman-Santana,[1] is a virtuoso drummer whose artistry spans the realms of jazz and rock.  Blackman is best known for recording and touring with Lenny Kravitz. Full Biography
 and at her website I read……..

As a bandleader and as a musician, Cindy is a sound innovator with a passion for pushing creative boundaries and exploring movement and change.  She is as known for the nuances and colors she brings to her beats and fills as she is for the sheer power of her soulful playing.  “Some drummers act, some react.  Some keep time, others create it.  Cindy Blackman Santana is among the few who can,” writes Mike Zwerin for the International Herald Tribune. More Bio

In addition to playing with jazz and rock artists, including Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson, Bill Laswell, Joss Stone, Joe Henderson, Buckethead, Don Pullen, Hugh Masakela, and Angela Bofill, Cindy has released eleven straight-ahead solo jazz albums. Her 1992 release Telepahy is listed at AllMusic as an Editor’s Pick while her 2001 release Someday and her 2010 release Another Lifetime both received 4 out of 5 stars!
Another LifetimeAnother Lifetime released in  2010 release is described at her website as…..
the tour de force album is a tribute to her mentor, the legendary drummer Tony Williams, and features reimaginings of eight songs from his seminal ’70s group Lifetime, as well as three original tracks by Cindy.  In its review, All About Jazz wrote, “Blackman’s sonic explorations take jazz-rock beyond where the late drummer envisioned it when he was putting heads to bed with guitarist John McLaughlin, bassist Jack Bruce and organist Larry Young…Jazz-rock as performed by Williams, and now Blackman, is very much alive and well.”  The Guardian (U.K.) review called it “a firebreathing session,” adding “the mad-axeman guitar and boneshaking drumming this style invites is certainly present…but Blackman balances it with tonal splashes of abstract colour.”


She says this about jazz….
. “To me, jazz is the highest form of music that you can play because of the creative requirements,” says Blackman
“I think of playing as controlled freedom, and in jazz, especially, that’s exactly what you have.  I love it,” says Cindy.  “You know the forms of the songs, but you have the freedom to stretch over them.  You want the music to grow and breathe, and you want to invite creativity from all the musicians.  As you’re going along, you can change the color, the feel, the mood in different ways, or go off the chart and open it up to something new.  Controlled freedom is an incredible discipline in itself, requiring a lot of focus.  Improvisation like that is art in its highest form.”
Music for the New MilleniumI listened this afternoon to her 2004 release Music for the New Millennium in his review at AllMusic Ken Dryden writes……
Cindy Blackman’s first release on her own is a bit of a departure for her, as she no longer restrains herself to the hard bop/bop genres. With tenor saxophonist JD Allen, bassist George Mitchell, and Carlton Holmes on Fender Rhodes and synthesizer, Blackman leans a bit toward fusion without entirely giving up her more mainstream roots Read More
I really enjoyed the album. I like it a little more than Another Lifetime which I’m listening to now! The albums have two distinct styles!!
Here’s an awesome drum solo by Cindy from a recent performance in London!! Happy Birthday, Cindy you are one helluva drummer, Tony Williams would be proud!!
 You can check out more videos at Cindy Blackman’s YouTube Channel