Celebrated jazz duo reunite after seven years

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

A decade ago, guitar-driven jazz duo Blackman and Arnold were one of the most sought-after musical acts in Metro Detroit.

The group — made up of Sean Blackman and John Arnold — performed nearly 300 shows a year in bars, restaurants, festivals and private events. Anyone with a finger on the pulse of the local entertainment scene from the late '90s through late '00s knew about Blackman and Arnold.

About seven years ago, though, the decided to disband. Blackman says it wasn't anything dramatic that led to the decision, just a need for change.

"We became so close that the time drew near for us to take a break," says Blackman. "But it wasn't so severe that we couldn't be in the same room together. We're like brothers! Also, we both already had our individual projects in the works, which made it work out for us."

Blackman, who describes his music as world music influenced by Armenian folk, African music and Brazilian jazz, says that even though the duo stopped performing together seven years ago, he still gets people stopping him on the street asking about it.

The reunion concert will be on a grand scale at the 1700-capacity Royal Oak Music Theatre. Blackman and Arnold will be joined by several guest vocalist like Genevieve Marentette and Paul Randolph and a slew of percussionists including Jared Sykes, Danny Cox, Larry Fratangelo and others.

Blackman says they decided to do a reunion concert for their fans.

"Our break-up was so abrupt, so there wasn't an opportunity for a final show," he says. "We decided to throw this 'one night only' reunion concert for our large fan base to celebrate all those good times."



Blackman and Arnold Reunion


8 p.m. Saturday

Royal Oak Music Theater

318 W. Fourth,

Royal Oak


(248) 399-2980