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Ed Blackwell

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Title: Ed Blackwell  
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Subject: The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer, From the Soul (Joe Lovano album), At the Five Spot, Mark Helias, Radio (Naked City album)
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Ed Blackwell

Ed Blackwell
Birth name Edward Joseph Blackwell
Born (1929-10-10)October 10, 1929
Origin New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Died October 7, 1992(1992-10-07) (aged 62)
Genres Jazz
Instruments Drum kit
Associated acts Ornette Coleman
Old and New Dreams
The Ed Blackwell Project

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]


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


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 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.


As leader

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

With Old and New Dreams

As sideman

With Ray Anderson

With Karl Berger

With Jane Ira Bloom

  • Mighty Lights (Enja)

With David Bond

  • The Key of Life (Vineyard)

With Charles Brackeen

With Anthony Braxton

With Marion Brown

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

With Ornette Coleman

With Steve Coleman

With Don Cherry

With Jayne Cortez

  • Everywhere Drums (Bola Press)

With Stanley Cowell

With Anthony Davis

With Eric Dolphy

With Dewey Redman

With Charlie Haden

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

With Jemeel Moondoc

With David Murray

With Art Neville

With Yoko Ono

With Hilton Ruiz

  • Cross Currents (Stash)

With Archie Shepp

With Bob Stewart

With Mal Waldron

With Wadada Leo Smith


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Allmusic

External links

  • Ed Blackwell discography
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