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Cindy Blackman's Explorations, Jazz Standard August 18, 2010

Ernest Barteldes By

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Cindy Blackman's Explorations
Jazz Standard
New York, NY
August 18, 2010

Cindy Blackman's Explorations' first set on Wednesday, August 18 opened with a very experimental-sounding number dominated by keyboards and drums that switched back and forth into a more traditional format. Linking the tune's two facets was Rashaan Carter's walking bass, which stood apart from the piece's electronic textures. This structure gave saxophonist Antoine Roney plenty of space to freely improvise. Keyboardists Marc Cary and Zaccai Curtis followed his lead, also adding plenty of individuality throughout.

The group followed that with a mellower number that showcased the bandleader on an extended solo. The tune changed the tempo dramatically, and Roney took a dramatic solo while Curtis, Cary and Carter kept a tight backup.

After a brief band introduction, The band performed the most straight-ahead number of the set, an up-tempo number with touches of hard bop. Roney took a short solo and then Blackman took over with an extended unaccompanied solo of her own, centering on the cymbals and toms.

The set closed with a very futuristic number filled with keyboard improvisations and computer effects, time signature changes shifting textures. The music was challenging both to the musicians and those in the audience—a common trait of Blackman's unique style as a bandleader.

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