If it wasn’t for a pool party in the mid-1960s, we probably wouldn’t have one of the most diverse drummers in music today. A seven-year-old Cindy Blackman attended the aforementioned pool party of one of her classmates in her hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio. While walking through her friend’s house, Blackman spotted a room that contained a drum set. While standing there in the doorway, she felt as if the drum set was beckoning her to sit down and play it. Being a curious child, she did just that. When she tapped one of the drums, it was, as she described it, completely “natural”; as natural, she said, as “breathing.”
After moving with her family to Bristol, Connecticut as a teenager, Blackman took an interest in jazz, particularly jazz played by master drummer Tony Williams (the drummer for legendary Miles Davis). "I just love and loved everything about Tony," says Blackman. "To me, not only was he a master technician, a master drummer, the innovator of the age, but also, he was a sound innovator. He had so many things that elevated the sound and the level of skill required to play this kind of music."
In the early ’80s, Blackman moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College Of Music. After three semesters, Blackman dropped out and moved to New York to accept the drum spot for the doo-wop group The Drifters. For the remainder of the decade and well into the early ’90s, Blackman spent her time performing in various jazz bands. Then, in 1993, a young musician by the name of Lenny Kravitz called her up and had her play drums for him over the phone. Kravitz had her fly out to L.A., where she aced the official audition, and with that, Blackman made the transition from jazz band leader to arena-rock drummer almost overnight.
However, Blackman never left jazz behind. She still records, tours, and promotes her jazz band and albums every chance she gets.
Cindy Blackman also uses Remo heads, Vic Firth sticks, DW hardware, LP percussion, Protection Racket cases, and Beatnik Rhymic Analyzer.