Saw this news spreading on Twitter yesterday, and has sadly been confirmed...
Fact Mag: "Jazz pianist, songwriter and producer Don Blackman has been hospitalised with stage four cancer. The news was confirmed by his daughter Irene on Twitter last night, who asked fans to “please pray for us”. Although Twitter is awash with people posting “Don Blackman R.I.P.”, including posts by Deee-lite’s Lady Miss Kier and Lalah Hathaway, the news – to our knowledge – has yet to be confirmed by his family or a representative. Stage Four cancer means that the cancer has spread to various parts of the human body.
As well as a solo artist in his own right, releasing a self-titled album in 1982 that featured the hit ‘Heart’s Desire’, Blackman played with acts like Parliament / Funkadelic, Roy Ayers, Janet Jackson, Sting, Earth, Wind and Fire and more.
Update: Blackman’s daughter has confirmed that Don lost his battle with cancer at 12.15am, aged 60."
Good morning loved ones! at 12:15am this morning my father Don Blackman lost his battle with Cancer. Please keep us in your prayers.
— Irene Blackman (@ireneblackman) April 11, 2013
Blackman was featured in Wax Poetics issue 46, alongside his Queens musical cohorts Tom Browne and Bernard Wright, well worth a read...
"Rising from the fertile musical soil of Queens, New York, a group of musicians formed a tight bond and called themselves the Jamaica Kats. Under the tutelage of elders Weldon Irvine and Lenny White, the Kats perfected a modern fusion of jazz and funk, culminating in trumpeter Tom Browne’s 1980 hit, Funkin’ for Jamaica (NY)."
Listen: Don Blackman interviewed for Red Bull Music Academy Radio in 2011...
"Blackman grew up next to legendary jazz saxophonist Charles McPherson in Queens, who in turn introduced an impressionable young Blackman to Charles Mingus – and the rest was pretty much history, with him becoming so well-renowned for his songwriting and keyboard skills that he eventually hooked up with other revered artists like Earth, Wind, and Fire and Roy Ayers.
Oh, and getting back to Clinton and P-Funk: yes, he was jamming with them when he was only in his early 20s. All this hard work and lifelong toiling eventually led to some steady work as a session musician for the likes of Sting (Brand New Day), Janet Jackson (That’s the Way Love Goes), and Jay-Z (for his work on Mister Bleek’s album). And speaking of the Hook-Up, Don Blackman eventually connected with Master P for his album of the same name." - RBMA Radio