RIP John Black­well Jr

For­mer Prince drum­mer passes

Rhythm - - BEAT! -

As Rhythm went to press, the tragic news came through that John Black­well Jr had passed away

Black­well, who was best known for his suc­cess­ful as­so­ci­a­tion with Prince, was just 43 years old.

His wife ,Yar­itza, broke the news on so­cial me­dia, say­ing: “My hus­band in­cred­i­ble drum­mer John Black­well Jr. passed the way peace­fully in my com­pany to­day .Thanks God for his life and thanks ev­ery­one for their sup­port.”

The drum­mer had pre­vi­ously fallen ill dur­ing a trip to Ja­pan in 2016 af­ter which he was di­ag­nosed with two brain tu­mours.

Born on 9Septem­ber 1973 in South Carolina, Black­well came to promi­nence thanks to gigs with Cameo and Patti La­Belle in the mid- and late-’90s re­spec­tively. How­ever, it was when he landed the role be­hind the kit with Prince in 2000 that he made an in­deli­ble mark on the drum world.

As well as his 12-year as­so­ci­a­tion with the Pur­ple One, Black­well per­formed with the likes of Justin Tim­ber­lake, P Diddy, Bootsy Collins and D’An­gelo.

An ar­ray of drum stars, in­clud­ing Travis Barker ■ and Sheila E, were quick to pay trib­ute to Black­well on so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of his pass­ing. Rhythm would like to add to th­ese by say­ing that our last ex­pe­ri­ence of Black­well came dur­ing ■ the 2012 Buddy Rich Memo­rial Con­cert held at the Lon­don Pal­la­dium.On that night he per­formed along­side the likes of Dave Weckl, Ginger Baker, Ian Paice and Gavin Har­ri­son.

On the night he humbly told us, “I’m hon­oured to ■ be among great­ness tonight .I’m not great, but I ’m among great­ness. ”Af­ter watch­ing that night’s per­for­mance of ‘Ruth’, ‘Mex­i­cali Noise’ and ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ we were left in no doubt that de­spite his ear­lier protests, Black­well very much be­longed with the greats of drum­ming. Re­flect­ing on that night and his over­all body of work, we re­alise what a huge hole his pass­ing leaves in the drum world.

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