Tribute to John Blackwell 1973-2017


R&B, Jazz, Funk, Pop

Remarkable Artists he had played the drums for:

- Prince

- D' Angelo

- Justin Timberlake

John Blackwell and Prince

For many people Blackwell is characteristically the best drummer of Prince. It is said that the best Prince's era was with John Blackwell.


John grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and started playing drums at the age of 3, learning from his father John Blackwell Sr, a drummer himself.

As a teenager, John played in high school marching and jazz bands.

He played in jazz clubs from the age of 13 until he graduated from high school.

At 17, he played his first big high profile show with the singer and swing bandleader Billy Eckstine.

After high school, he attended Berklee College of Music, graduating in 1995.


From 1995 until 2016, John had played for many successful pop, funk, hip-hop, jazz and fusion stars, including Prince, Justin Timberlake, Cameo, Patti LaBelle, Utada Hikaru, Crystal Kay, P Diddy and Charlie Singleton.

He played at the 2008 and 2011 Buddy Rich Memorial Concert.

He released his debut album in December 2009, called The John Blackwell Project.

He has two educational drum DVDs. The first one is a two-disc set entitled "John Blackwell-Technique, Grooving and Showmanship" and the second one is self-titled "John Blackwell" and it is part of the Hudson Music Masters Series.

He had endorsements from Tama Drums and Zildjian cymbals and sticks. After a long co-operation with Sabian and Vater, he moved to Zildjian.

Blackwell with his Hendrix signature series snare drum.

John Blackwells Hendrix Drums signature series snare drum.

John Blackwells Tama signature series snare drum.