Cindy Blackman

Music for the New Millennium

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Cindy Blackman's first release on her own is a bit of a departure for her, as she no longer restrains herself to the hard bop/bop genres. With tenor saxophonist JD Allen, bassist George Mitchell, and Carlton Holmes on Fender Rhodes and synthesizer, Blackman leans a bit toward fusion without entirely giving up her more mainstream roots. She wrote and arranged most of the music for this two-CD set, laying down a heavy beat behind Allen's warm sax in "Insight (Past Wisdom)" and coming right out front during "For Wayne (Shorter That Is)." Allen and Holmes also contributed originals. The mix of instruments seems a bit odd at times, particularly when Allen is relegated to the background, while the electric keyboards don't always carry enough weight. Blackman obviously wanted to expand her musical horizons, but only time will tell if she remains with this instrumentation or returns to her roots.

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