John Blackwell Jr has died. He was just 43 years old. He had been diagnosed with brain tumours last year.
Best known for his work (for over a decade) as the drummer for Prince, Blackwell was an in-demand clinician and a master musician; prior to his Prince tenure (he joined the NPG in 2000) he had been holding it down for Patti LaBelle.
He was a showman, with tricks galore but actual musical chops and groove.
He was a hell of a player. A wizard to watch and by all accounts a scholar and a gent.
There’s no happy story here – beyond thinking that he might be about to reconnect with his old boss.
Sad news today.