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Another Lifetime

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Album Review

Drummer Cindy Blackman's tribute to the seminal Tony Williams Lifetime electric fusion band is loaded with interesting portrayals from different aspects without abject copying of the music that made the band a pioneering pivot point in modern music. New material is sprinkled in with several familiar themes or variations, with Blackman not so much pounding and flailing à la Williams as directing and focusing the power. Electric guitarist Mike Stern is the perfect choice to play the role of John McLaughlin, while organist Doug Carn grew up around this band, and under the influence of Larry Young, so together they are perfect fits. This base band plays three different takes of Carla Bley's "Vashkar," which was a signature composition of the first Lifetime band. The "straight" version is ultra-heavy, brash, and loud, with Stern's snarly guitar acting as a huffing, puffing locomotive engine, well done compared to the original. "Vashkar Reprise" is a funky variation, while "Vashkar — The Alternate Dimension Theory" takes the melody and mutates it into a free, spacy discourse. Five compositions by Williams include "Love Song" with Blackman in duet alongside tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano for his only appearance on the date, while "There Comes a Time" and "Wildlife" from latter-period Lifetime bands respectively consist of an electric swing with the drummer singing "I love you more when it's over" and classic jazz-rock trappings with guests Vernon Reid on electric guitar and electric keyboardist Patrice Rushen, the result sounding more like the Mahavishnu Orchestra. "Where" has a spooky vocal by Blackman and swirling organ from Carn that belies its 6/8 in 4/4 staggered phrases, while Stern really goes to town on his feature "Beyond Games," solidifying the straight funk role and burgeoning presence that McLaughlin had in the Lifetime band. There are electric bass guitarists on Another Lifetime as well, and where the virtuoso Jack Bruce was included in the band for a time, Benny Reitveld and David Santos are heard here, but not nearly as mightily as Bruce. Blackman contributes the two-minute variation of "Beyond Games" titled "The Game Theory"; the comparative filler of the spoken word-based "Forty Years of Innovation"; and the heftier "And Heaven Welcomed a King," where Carn and Stern convene in a monstrous, mighty fusion swing. This homage to Tony Williams comes straight from the heart, unfiltered and exploding with the absolute dynamism both drummers have always displayed. What is even better — this sounds very updated and not so retro as one might assume, a feather in the cap of the always formidable and substantive Cindy Blackman. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Not bad, but poor mix

Hard to tell what's going on here, because the recording mix is so muddy....

She is worth it, the album is worth it!

Cindy Blackman's latest album takes me back to that era where Miles, Mahavishnu Orchestra and of course Tony Williams' created some of the greatest modern jazz ever.
On this "Another Lifetime" Cindy clearly gives tribute to her number one influence (Tony Williams). There is a great amount of Tony’s sound but there is plenty she can call her own. It is still all so fresh for the times.
This album captures the great sound of guitarist, Mike Stern as well as Organist Doug Carne, and bassist Benny Reitvald.
I’m glad I have this record in my collection. It’s worth the download! Make sure you see her and her band when she comes to your town.

She is worth it, the album is worth it!

Once in a lifetime

I disagree with the review below that this was a poor mix. I actually really enjoy the mix in the way of its organicness, and how natural each instrument sounds and the separation between the group. Each instrument sounds full, dark, and dynamic in the context of the full mix, and I really enjoy that. Playing-wise, Cindy just kills it. She not only nails Tony's parts, but she brings in her own flavor that would definitely make Tony smile. The band is also incredible, and Cindy gives them their times to shine too, even though her name's the one on the cover, and I really respect that. Cindy's an insane drummer, the band's incredible, and the mix is amazing. Sounds like a winner to me.


Born: November 18, 1959 in Yellow Springs, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An accomplished, yet not flamboyant or showy drummer, Cindy Blackman has become a well-respected drummer and occasional bandleader in a short time. Both her mother and grandmother were classical musicians and her uncle a vibist. Blackman began playing drums as a child and studied classical percussion at the University of Hartford and Berklee. Alan Dawson and Lennie Nelson were two of her instructors. Blackman moved to New York in the early '80s, and played with Freddie Hubbard and Sam Rivers. She...
Full Bio
Another Lifetime, Cindy Blackman
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Feb 23, 2010

Customer Ratings