Edward Joseph Blackwell (October 10, 1929 – October 7, 1992)[1] was an American jazz drummer born in New Orleans, Louisiana, known for his extensive, influential work with Ornette Coleman.[2]

Contents Edit


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Discography
    • 2.1 As leader
    • 2.2 As sideman
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links

Biography[edit] Edit

Blackwell's early career began in New Orleans in the 1950s. He played in a bebop quintet that included pianist Ellis Marsalis and clarinetist Alvin Batiste. There was also a brief stint touring with Ray Charles. The second line parade music ofNew Orleans greatly influenced Blackwell's drumming style and could be heard in his playing throughout his career.

Blackwell first came to national attention as the drummer with Ornette Coleman's quartet around 1960, when he took over for Billy Higgins in the quartet's legendary stand at the Five Spot in New York City. He is known as one of the great innovators of the free jazz of the 1960s, fusing New Orleans and African rhythms with bebop. In the 1970s and 1980s Blackwell toured and recorded extensively with fellow Ornette Quartet veterans Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Dewey Redman in the quartet Old and New Dreams.

In the late 1970s Blackwell became an Artist-in-Residence at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Blackwell was a beloved figure on the Wesleyan Campus until he died.

In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio.

"The Ed Blackwell Project" members were Mark Helias, bass, Carlos Ward, alto sax/flute, and Graham Haynes (son of drummer Roy Haynes), cornet.

After years of kidney problems, Blackwell died in 1992. The following year he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

Discography[edit] Edit

As leader[edit] Edit

  • 1992: What It Is!
  • 1992: What It Be Like?
  • 1992: Walls-Bridges (Black Saint)

With Old and New Dreams

  • Old and New Dreams (Black Saint, 1976)
  • Old and New Dreams (ECM, 1979)
  • Playing (ECM, 1980)
  • A Tribute to Blackwell (Black Saint, 1987)

As sideman[edit] Edit

With Ray Anderson

  • Every One Of Us (Gramavision)

With Karl Berger

  • Karl Berger (ESP Disk)
  • Tune In (Milestone)
  • Just Play 1976 (Quark)
  • Transit w/ Dave Holland (Black Saint)
  • Crystal Fire (Quark)

With Jane Ira Bloom

  • Mighty Lights (Enja)

With David Bond

  • The Key of Life (Vineyard)

With Charles Brackeen

  • Rhythm X (Strata-East, 1973)

With Anthony Braxton

  • Six Compositions: Quartet (Antilles)

With Marion Brown

  • Vista (Impulse!, 1975)
  • Awofofora (Disco Mate)

With Ornette Coleman

  • This Is Our Music (Atlantic, 1960)
  • Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation (Atlantic, 1960)
  • Ornette! (Atlantic, 1961)
  • Ornette on Tenor (Atlantic, 1961)
  • The Complete Science Fiction Sessions
  • Beauty Is a Rare Thing (Rhino/Atlantic)
  • The Art of the Improvisers (Atlantic)
  • Twins (Atlantic)
  • To Whom Who Keeps a Record (Atlantic)
  • Live in Milano 1968 (Jazz Up)
  • The Unprecedented Music Of Ornette Coleman (Lotus Passport)
  • Friends and Neighbors: Live at Prince Street (Flying Dutchman)
  • Broken Shadows (Columbia, 1971)
  • Science Fiction (Columbia, 1971)
  • The Belgrade Concert (Jazz Door)
  • European Concert (Unique Jazz)
  • Paris Concert (Trio)
  • Skies of America (Columbia)
  • Stating The Case (Jazz Anthology)

With Steve Coleman

  • Rhythm in Mind (RCA/Novus)

With Don Cherry

  • Complete Communion (Blue Note)
  • The Avant-Garde
  • Symphony for Improvisers (Blue Note)
  • Where is Brooklyn? (Blue Note)
  • El Corazón (ECM, 1982)
  • Mu First Part (BYG Actuel)
  • Mu Second Part (BYG Actuel)
  • Broken Shadows (Moon)
  • Relativity Suite (JCOA)
  • Tamma with Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell (Odin)
  • Multikuti (A&M, 1990)

With Anthony Davis

  • Song for the Old World (India Navigation)

With Jayne Cortez

  • Everywhere Drums (Bola Press)

With Stanley Cowell

  • Regeneration (Strata East, 1976)

With Eric Dolphy

  • At the Five Spot, Vols 1 & 2
  • Memorial Album (Prestige)
  • Here and There (Prestige)
  • Dash One (Prestige)

With Dewey Redman

  • Tarik (BYG Actuel, 1969)
  • Red and Black in Willisau (Black Saint, 1980)
  • The Struggle Continues (ECM)

With Charlie Haden

  • The Montreal Tapes: with Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell (Verve, 1989 [1994])

With Albert Heath

  • Kawaida (O'Be)

With Clifford Jordan

  • Lee Morgan w/ Clifford Jordan Quintet-Live in Baltimore 1968 (Fresh Sound)
  • In the World (Strata-East, 1969 [1972])

With Joe Lovano

  • From the Soul (Blue Note)
  • Sounds of Joy (Enja)

With Jemeel Moondoc

  • Judy's Bounce (Soul Note, 1982)

With David Murray

  • Morning Song (Black Saint)
  • Ming's Samba (Portrait)
  • Death of a Sideman (DIW)

With Art Neville

  • What's Going On" (Specialty)
  • That Old Time Rock 'N' Roll" (Specialty)

With Yoko Ono

  • Plastic Ono Band (Apple)

With Hilton Ruiz

  • Cross Currents (Stash)

With Archie Shepp

  • Further Fire Music (Impulse!)
  • On This Night (GRP/Impulse!)
  • The Magic of Ju-Ju (Impulse!)

With Bob Stewart

  • Goin' Home (JMT, 1989)

With Mal Waldron

  • Breaking New Ground (Baybridge 1983)
  • Mal Waldron Plays Eric Satie (Baybridge, 1983)
  • You and the Night and the Music (Paddle Wheel, 1983)
  • The Git Go - Live at the Village Vanguard (Soul Note, 1986)
  • The Seagulls of Kristiansund (Soul Note, 1986)

With Wadada Leo Smith

  • The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer: Live 1986 (Kabell, 2010)

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