Cindy Blackman QuartetNo wonder Albert Dadon, the Artistic Director of the 2008 Melbourne International Jazz Festival was proud to introduce the final gig of this year’s festival, being the Cindy Blackman Quartet. Well shielded from a wintery evening, a full crowd gathered at The Palms at Crown to indulge in this stellar performance of complex, layered and rhythmical jazz compilations and improvisations.

Clearly a drumming heroine, Cindy Blackman was born in Ohio, raised in Connecticut and began her musical career in New York City as a street performer. Most are familiar with her hot afro locks and crafty handwork from her long stint as drummer to Lenny Kravitz. Armed with Art Blakey as her mentor, Tony Williams as her inspiration, and an obvious natural percussive gift, she is an outstanding musician with a commanding stage presence.

The score was simple and unassuming: a stage, varied laser lighting, a tenor saxophonist, J D Allen, a bass player, George Mitchell, keyboard/piano, Carlton Holmes, and of course drummer and composer extraordinaire, Cindy Blackman. What began as simple beats turned into expressive solos laden with passion and musical flair, and then neatly segued into rock, funk, groove, a bit of blues, or a combination of these based on both straight and composite rhythms. The musical communication between the artists was faultless.

Their latest album is called ‘Music for the New Millennium’ and the Festival kick started the quartet’s Summer Tour. If you’re a jazz enthusiast, and have a penchant for creativity and depth within this musical genre, be sure to catch this spunky international act.

Melbourne Jazz Festival
Cindy Blackman Quartet

Venue: The Palms At Crown
Date/Time: 8:00pm Sunday 4 May 2008
Price: Premium $69.00, Concession $65.00

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