321

Cindy Blackman: Another Lifetime

Jeff Winbush By

Sign in to view read count
Cindy Blackman: Another Lifetime When Cindy Blackman took an insult from another musician directed toward her and the late, great drum virtuoso Tony Williams, she got even. She decided that the best revenge would not be to snipe back, but instead to put together a band featuring guitarists Mike Stern and Vernon Reid, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, and other like-minded souls to recapture the power and glory of Williams' Lifetime band, the seminal group of jazz-rock.

Does everything work to perfection on Another Lifetime? More works here than not, but it's not entirely flawless. Rock, bop, and free jazz are all well represented here on an album of jazz without a safety net. Blackman isn't interested in playing like Williams; instead, she pays homage rather than mechanically trying to imitate the man Miles Davis called, "the fire, the creative spark" of his classic 1960s quintet.

Stern doesn't shy from playing some ugly guitar riffs. He shreds the strings mercilessly while Doug Carn's organ oozes in and out. Blackman's "singing" isn't a strength (neither were the times Williams took a vocal turn), but it still fits into Another Lifetime's uncompromising vision.

Blackman beats the hell out of her drum kit as she plays with a controlled fury. She can go from flash and dash to showing off her considerable skills, and trots out plenty of technique over the eleven songs recorded over a four-year period with different line-ups. The bulk of album pairs Blackman with Stern, Carn, and bassist Benny Rietveld through three takes of Carla Bley's "Vashkar," doubling back to it on "Vashkar Reprise" and wrapping things up with "Vashkar—The Alternate Dimension Theory." Reid bends, distorts, and tears the roof off on "Wildlife," while Patrice Rushen (on Fender Rhodes and synthesizer) aptly answers the question of what she's been up to since her hit with "Forget Me Nots."

Putting aside preconceived notions of what Tony Williams' Lifetime might sound like in 2010, 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, providing the jet fuel that powered his own propulsive playing. If Another Lifetime doesn't quite herald the second coming of the jazz-rock movement (Blackman, like Williams, rejects the term "fusion" as a weak word), it does prove there is quite a bit of vitality left in it and Blackman is well-positioned to lead its rebirth. Fusion is dead. Jazz-rock as performed by Williams, and now Blackman, is very much alive and well.


Track Listing: Vashkar: Where; Beyond Games: Vashkar Reprise; 40 Years of Innovation; The Game Theory; Vashkar--The Alternate Dimension Theory; Love Song; And Heaven Welcomed a King; There Comes a Time; Wildlife.

Personnel: Cindy Blackman: drums, vocals, spoken word; Doug Carn: organ (1-4, 6. 7, 9); Benny Rietveld: bass (1-4, 6, 7, 9); Mike Stern: guitar (1-4, 6, 7, 9); Carlton Holmes: synthesizer (5, 10); Fionn O Lochlainn: guitar (5, 10); Joe Lovano: tenor sax (8); Vernon Reid: guitar (11); Patrice Rushen: Fender Rhodes and synthesizer (11); David Santos: bass (11).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Four Quarters Entertainment | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp" CD/LP/Track Review The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Six By Five" CD/LP/Track Review Six By Five
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar" CD/LP/Track Review Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 19, 2016
Read "The Havana Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Havana Sessions
by James Nadal
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by John Sharpe
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "PointCounterPoint" CD/LP/Track Review PointCounterPoint
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!