Cindy Blackman - Another Lifetime (4 stars)

Cindy Blackman - Another Lifetime

(Four Quarters)

Although she has worked in many jazz contexts, American drummer Cindy Blackman’s widest exposure has come as a long-standing member of Lenny Kravitz’s band. Tony Williams was the first drummer she ever saw, and this outing is a tribute to the still vital memory of her hero’s music, and especially his post-Miles Davis electric jazz outfit, Lifetime, the source of many of the compositions Blackman covers here.

They include intense remakes of tracks like ‘Vashtar’ (which is both reprised and then interestingly tweaked as ‘Vashtar – The Alternate Dimension Theory’), ‘Beyond Games’ and ‘Wildlife’. These are not tunes that are much recycled in jazz’s perennial cover game, and it is fascinating to hear a contemporary take on them. Guitarists Mike Stern and Vernon Reed, organist Doug Carne, pianist Patrice Rushen and a guest outing from saxophonist Joe Lovano in a duo with Blackman on ‘Love Song’ ensure that the music takes fire, stoked by the drummer’s unrelenting energy.

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