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SoundGround >> James Blood Ulmer


2/24/12 11:17 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/24/12 11:20 AM
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And another one by request -- like the Ronald Shannon Jackson thread, I'm just doing this earl am before hurrying off to work, so I'll find more. But here's a title track from his more "harmolodic funk" record, "Black Rock".

Ulmer did a lot of boring records later than this (and some good ones!) but he had a streak of great ones... if you like this sort of thing. Freelancing and Odyssey and Black Rock and Are You Glad to Be In America? .... and some great ones with The Music Revelation Ensemble. Anyway, slightly more accessible than most... "Black Rock":



In lesser sound quality, but more clearly still in the jazz section of the record store, this is called "Layout" and is from "Are You Glad to Be In America?"

2/24/12 10:43 PM
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hugomma
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I really dug "Black Rock". Ulmer had to have been a huge influence bands like Bad Brains, Living Color, 24-7 Spies, & Fisbone.

"Layout" was odd & interesting, but you're right the sound quality could've been better.

Hard to imagine this guy being boring.
2/25/12 12:13 AM
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Ali
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"Layout" shouldn't sound as bad as it does in that clip. The CD sound quality isn't great, but it's a damn sight better than what comes across on youtube.

Here's the Music Revelation Ensemble (with Pharoah Sanders on his 70th birthday -- in place of the more usual David Murray on sax); here's a cover of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman". Or at least using that as a jumping off point:

2/26/12 12:55 PM
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Ali
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And more Ulmer up on youtube today than there was 2 days ago. There are a few tunes from his record "Freelancing" which was where I got on board. Levels are slightly low, at least on my rig. So turn it up! Here's "Hijack":

2/26/12 12:59 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/26/12 1:00 PM
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And the first major label record, IIRC, was Odyssey. Much of it just a trio, guitar, violin, drums. I think it's considered more "accessible" because the ensembles aren't as dense. Or something. You really get Blood's skittery/spidery guitar approach up front on it, even if he doesn't really "shred" the way you'd expect with a more up-front role for it. It's ok, you can tell what an animal he is anyway. "Church" is insturmental, here followed by a stripped down version of a song he's recorded a few times with different forces, "Are You Glad to Be In America?":

2/26/12 1:04 PM
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Ali
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And from his first record, which came out on Ornette Coleman's label... with Ornette playing alto:

2/26/12 1:09 PM
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Ali
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I don't know where ALL this stuff was the first time I looked... I guess I didn't look too hard. Solo, with one of his strange open tunings that gives it all delay/drone effects... modern blues, "Geechee Joe":

2/26/12 10:03 PM
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hugomma
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Just listened to that live Music Revelation Ensemble with Pharoah Sanders. That was great. Loved the use of the wha, the interplay, the tones, the solos, the rhythmic build up - everything.

I felt like Ulmer took the melody as far as he could till he slowly worked his way towards the solo around 1:58. Around 2:19 he milks those single notes, & around 2:31 he stars with that triplet motif. Then he repeats for a split second around 2:55.

Too many great moments all around. Really dense, heavy shit. Will check the other threads & be back for more later.
2/27/12 10:03 AM
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DasBeaver
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Amazing! You turned me on to Black Rock a while back, which I still love. I found Freelancing on vinyl a while back and really enjoyed it.

I love the live clip with Pharoah Sanders. Listening to recordings of his playing I always tried to picture how he wound up getting with these crazy riffs that come out of nowhere. Watching him play he looks like a kid in the sandbox, having fun and building something only a kid could build.

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