Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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BLACKWELL, Ed

(b 10 Dec. '29, New Orleans; d 7 Oct. '92) Drummer. Played '40s with Plas Johnson, Roy Brown; to LA '51; played with Ornette Coleman; with Huey 'Piano' Smith, toured with Ray Charles '57; to NYC '60, succeeded Billy Higgins in Coleman's quartet (LPs Science Fiction, Free Jazz, others). Played with John Coltrane and Don Cherry (The Avant Garde); duet LPs with Cherry (Mu First Part, Second Part); recorded with Eric Dolphy band live at the Five Spot '61; Dewey Redman (Tarik), Gato Barbieri, Archie Shepp, many others; also Coleman 'ghost band' Old and New Dreams (see ECM). His combination of roots and technique made him one of the best-known percussionists in free jazz. Tours of Africa with Randy Weston mid-'60s. Lived in Morocco '68; back with Coleman '70; taught at Wesleyan mid-'70s.