An Excerpt from February 2008 story in The Trentonian,
“And the Grammy Goes to,” by Scott Frost
“…Let’s take you back to 1988. A 6-year-old musical prodigy takes the stage at El Bethel church on Euclid Avenue in Trenton. The son of a popular jazz player around town, Rod Blackstone, the child plays the piano and drums so brilliantly his father takes the kid on the road with him and puts him in sessions with adults.
“He started out on drums when he was 6,” said the elder Blackstone. “Not just banging; he had perfect pitch and perfect rhythm. I knew from the very beginning he was going to be a professional musician. I had to put him in with men, even when he was 6 years old.”
Blackstone said he learned to love music in church first. He didn’t even start playing bass guitar until he reached high school in Willingboro, and only took on that project recreationally because no one else wanted to play the instrument in school.
It looks like he picked the right track. From then on bass became his muse, and right now, he’s considered one of the industry’s top bassists. There’s even a life-size cutout of Blackstone at the Wachovia Center’s Ibanez Guitar presentation, alongside Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Victor Wooten.
His music has taken him to Hollywood with Jay Leno and late-night New York with David Letterman. He’s toured with Jon Legend and Pharell (including a Brazilian Live8 tour in front of 125,000 people) and played bass in Dave Chappelle’s “Block Party” concert movie. Production credits include works with Scott and Joss Stone and as Jay-Z’s musical director and collaborator on the hip-hop mogul’s “Fade to Black” DVD. In fact, Blackstone is seen right there on center stage at a sold-out Madison Square Garden with the New York MC and Beyonce doing their thing for what was supposedly his farewell tour.
Yet, despite all his success, Blackstone sees Sunday as a starting point for him. He laughs when The Trentonian asked if he already dusted off the mantle at the homestead he shares with his wife Kaisha Askins in case he needs room for two golden statues come Monday morning.
“This is an honor and an accomplishment that I’ve dreamt about my whole life. But it’s weird, man. I kind of feel it’s the most validating thing from the musician’s community, however, like I said, this the start of what God has for me to do,” Blackstone said. “There’s tons of music and tons of movies and other types of artistry that people will enjoy, and they don’t win anything. But just to have the buzz around town … that’s what I want to hear.”
And it all started in Trenton.”