Saturday, March 22, 2014

James "Blood" Ulmer - Revealing (In+Out, 1977, released 1990)

Guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer made his name playing with Ornette Coleman and remians indebted to the saxophonist's theory of harmolodics where harmony and melody are equal and each musician has the utmost freedom available. This was Ulmer's first session as a leader although it apparently was not released until 1990. Joining him on this recording is George Adams on tenor saxophone, Cecil McBee on bass and Doug Hammond on drums. There are four lengthy songs, two per side on the original LP and Ulmer is beginning to develop his trademark spiky and sharp tone that he would use to great effect on following LP's like Tales of Captain Black, Black Rock and many others. Adams' rough and burly tone works very well within the context of the music. He is grounded in the blues but is wide open to Ulmer's developing musical conception. "Raw Groove" in particular shows the dynamism of the whole group working together, where McBee and Hammond lock in together to form a fine rhythm team leaving the other two to develop improvisations. In conjunction with the harmolodic philosophy Ulmer doesn't quite provide accompaniment when another musician solos, but weaves in his own phrases in accordance with what the other musicians are playing. This was a very interesting album, Ulmer was building his sound and developing rapidly and he would even have a major label contract for a brief minute in the early 1980's. He would soon considerable reputation as a guitarist who can play in any context or situation you can imagine. Revealing -

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