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Cindy Blackman Santana Is The Rhythmic Force Behind Jazz and Rock

Cindy Blackman Santana's journey into the world of drumming started in her childhood, marked by an innate rhythm and a passion for percussion. "According to my mom and sister, I was always tapping on things and making sounds," Cindy recalls. At the age of seven, her fascination with drums grew as she began receiving toy drum kits. The turning point came when her older sister took her to a rehearsal, where Cindy encountered a real drum set for the first time. "I snuck behind the drums and started hitting them, and it blew my mind."



Her first student model drum kit arrived at age 12, but it wasn't long before she outgrew it. By 13, she had saved enough money from babysitting to purchase a professional drum set. This dedication was further fueled by her grandmother’s advice to play effects naturally rather than relying on pedals. This foundation of hard work and ingenuity set the stage for Cindy's future success. After high school, Cindy attended the Berklee School of Music, where she found a community that nurtured her growth. "Boston was a college town, and the energy of learning and growth really helped me," she reflects.


Cindy's illustrious career includes collaborations with jazz legends like Jackie McLean and Don Pullen. "Jazz is the most advanced way of playing with almost any instrument," she explains. Her ability to improvise and adapt has made her a standout in the jazz community. Cindy's versatility extends beyond jazz, as she has recorded and toured with a diverse array of artists, including Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson, and Lenny Kravitz.


Cindy's personal life is as harmonious as her musical career. She met her husband, legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, while on tour with Lenny Kravitz in Germany. Their connection was immediate, fueled by shared interests in music and spirituality. "We really had a great interest in a lot of similar things, from music to spirituality," Cindy says. They married seven months after reconnecting, and will celebrate their 14th anniversary this December.


2024 promises to be a landmark year for Cindy Blackman Santana. Her upcoming solo album will push the boundaries of sound, showcasing her dynamic range and innovative spirit. In addition to her solo work, Cindy will tour with both the Cindy Blackman Santana Band and Santana. The Cindy Blackman Santana Band, featuring Aurélien Budynek (guitar), Felix Pastorious (bass), Emilio Modeste (saxophone), Zaccai Curtis (piano), and JD Allen (saxophone for select NYC shows), will embark on an East Coast tour this summer. Fans can look forward to intimate and soulful performances, blending jazz, rock, and fusion with Cindy's signature drumming.


Cindy Blackman Santana Band 2024 Tour Dates:


July 4: Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club - Portsmouth, NH

July 5-7: Keystone Korner Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

July 9-13: Birdland - New York, NY


For tickets and more information, visit Cindy Blackman Santana.



Additionally, Cindy will join the Santana and Counting Crows Oneness Tour 2024, performing across the U.S. this summer. Fans can experience the iconic Santana collective at House of Blues Las Vegas as part of their residency, An Intimate Evening with Santana: Greatest Hits Live.


Cindy's rhythmic prowess was recently highlighted in ESPN’s new Monday Night Football anthem. Collaborating with Chris Stapleton and Snoop Dogg, they reimagined Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," bringing a fresh and powerful take to the classic hit.


Cindy Blackman Santana's journey from a young girl tapping on toy drums to a world-renowned drummer and bandleader is a testament to her talent, dedication, and passion. As she continues to push musical boundaries and connect with audiences worldwide, Cindy remains a driving force in the realms of jazz and rock.


In a recent interview, Cindy shared insights into her musical journey and personal life. Reflecting on her early days, she said, "From a young age, I was always tapping on things and making sounds. When I turned seven, I really started getting into drums and was getting toy drum kits. I loved the role of the drums in the band and the way it made me move. My first real exposure to a drum set was at a rehearsal with my older sister, and it blew my mind. By age 12, I had my first student model kit, and by 13, I had saved enough money to buy a professional drum set."


When asked about the highlights of her career, Cindy noted, "Playing with Jackie McLean and Don Pullen are definite highlights. Jazz is the most advanced way of playing with almost any instrument, and I love the improvisation it allows. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with a wide range of artists, from Pharoah Sanders to Lenny Kravitz."


Cindy also recounted the story of meeting her husband, Carlos Santana. "We met while I was on the road with Lenny Kravitz in Germany. Carlos and I connected over our shared interests in music and spirituality. We were married seven months later and will celebrate 14 years this December."


Looking ahead to 2024, Cindy is excited about her upcoming projects. "We are working on a new album and touring with the Santana and Counting Crows Oneness Tour. Starting in July, we’ll be headed to the East Coast with my own band, bringing some strings, dual sax players, and much more to these shows."


Cindy Blackman Santana continues to inspire and captivate audiences with her powerful drumming and innovative musical vision. Her upcoming tours and solo album promise to be highlights of the year for music lovers everywhere.

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