The Resounding Sound of Cindy Blackman
In conclusion, although Blackman readily proclaims a debt to Tony Williams—and some of her playing clearly falls within that school—this writer has avoided such comparisons; the all too common discussions of lineage and name-dropping employed in jazz criticism to place an instrumentalist historically, and probably more often, to circumnavigate the difficulty of describing an individual’s style. In the case of Blackman, comparison is more than useless. Through assiduous study, a genre vaulting career, and a rare dedication to a notoriously frustrating and critically neglected instrument, Blackman has done what only the most singular of artists is capable. She has developed a style totally her own, one marked by innovative concepts of dynamic variation, a precision and consistency of stroke no less than astonishing, and a blend of melodic, textural, and rhythmic improvisational development deserving far closer and more expert analysis than possible here.