– October 7
) was an American free jazz drummer
born in New Orleans, Louisiana
. While album credits typically listed him as "Ed Blackwell," he preferred to be called Edward. Most of his close associates, including his wife, simply called him "Blackwell" most of the time.
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 of New 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 70's and 80's 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 70's Blackwell became an Artist-in-Residence at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Blackwell was a beloved figure on the Wesleyan Campus until he died. He and his drumming students would greet each other by one calling out "What it be like?" and the other responding "What it is!"
After years of kidney problems, Blackwell died in 1992. The following year he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.
The Ed Blackwell Project
- What It Be Like?
- What It Is!
Ed Blackwell Trio
- This Is Our Music
- Ornette On Tenor
- Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation
- 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-Ornette Live At Prince Street (Flying Dutchman)
- Broken Shadows (Columbia)
- Science Fiction (Columbia)
- The Belgrade Concert (Jazz Door)
- European Concert (Unique Jazz)
- Paris Concert (Trio)
- Skies Of America (Columbia)
- Stating The Case (Jazz Anthology)
John Coltrane and Don Cherry
as Old And New Dreams''
Eric Dolphy and Booker Little
- Red And Black
- In Willisau (Black saint)
- The Struggle Continues (ECM)
Old And New Dreams
- Song for the Old World (India Navigation)
- Rhythm In Mind (RCA/Novus)
Jane Ira Bloom
- Live at the Village Vanguard (Pioneer)
- Plays Erik Satie (Baybridge)
- You and the Night and the Music (Paddle Wheel)
- The Git-Go: Live at the Village Vanguard (Soul Note)
- Seagulls of Kristiansundi: Live at the Village Vanguard (Soul Note)
- Everywhere Drums (Bola Press)