James Blood Ulmer solo
Imagine a joining of Ornette Coleman and Robert Pete Williams with a dose of p-funk, and you have an inkling of how this man’s blues sounds. It’s intense, charismatic and doesn’t much follow the rulebook. When the 60’s turned into the 70’s, Blood played with Art Blakey, Paul Bley, Rashied Ali and Larry Young, but most important was his post as Ornette’s first guitar player. From Coleman he learned the harmolodic way of playing that combined the principles of African music and free jazz. In the 80’s Ulmer founded the Music Revelation Ensemble with David Murray and Shannon Jackson. Julius Hemphill, Arthur Blythe and Sam Rivers also participated at various stages. The Phalanx he co-led with saxist George Adams, while Odyssey was a trio with violinist Charles Burnham and drummer Warren Benbow.
Having been marinated in the Baptist churches of South Carolina, Blood had a sense of blues in his music even in his most way-out periods, but lately he has let it come to the surface on the albums that Living Colour’s Vernon Reid produced. Recently Memphis Blood and Bad Blood In The City, dealing with New Orleans post-Katrina low-down, have been named as the new millennium’s most vital blues albums, but it’s album Birthright that presents Blood alone with the blues.