Ed Blackwell Day

October 10, 1929 – October 7, 1992


Old and New Dreams

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Drummer Edward Joseph Blackwell was born on October 10, 1929 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Best known for his work with free jazz trailblazer Ornette Coleman, Blackwell’s style was equally informed by avant-garde jazz, second line parade music, and West African rhythms.

Blackwell later formed the group Old and New Dreams, comprised of former Coleman sidemen Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Don Cherry.

I don’t know how many jazz fans are aware, but Ed Blackwell is a New Orleans drummer. If you know the Second Line parade beat of that city, you can hear it in his playing.

New Orleans along with New York and Chicago (and Detroit and LA) were the great open air jazz conservatories of America.

Blackwell was drummer in a bebop quartet with pianist Ellis Marsalis and clarinetist Alvin Batiste, two top New Orleans players. He also toured with Ray Charles, who received a major creative infusion from the rich music culture of New Orleans.

He joined Ornette Coleman’s group in 1960.

In this video you have Ornette’s band minus Ornette with Blackwell on drums. Along with a handful of other groups, Armstrong’s. Count Basie, Charlie Parker’s, this unit did a tremendous amount to shape the direction of jazz.


Don Cherry, trumpet
Ed Blackwell, drums
Dewey Redman, tenor sax
Charlie Haden, bass


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