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James Blood Ulmer - Blue Blood CD (album) cover


James Blood Ulmer


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.08 | 3 ratings

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3 stars Only filling gaps here.

I welcome Ulmer's inclusion here, although I do acknowledge that it's skirting the definition of Prog criteria as applied by PA. Many of Ulmer's albums have been treasured possessions in my music collection for quite a few years, so I am definitely not complaining.

His style is raw, rough and generally hard to box into any one genre. Electric Blues is perhaps the most dominant, alongside Jazz, Free-Jazz, Funk, R&B mixed with some Avant. But at times he also sounds like acoustic John Lee Hooker, or even Hendrix. He is not a "directionless bimbo", but a versatile and very productive artist. His unique style on the guitar often appears to be amateurish, but in reality, it's very much like instinctive Blues roots. The coarse talking vocals matches it perfectly.

"Blue Blood" is a decent album, but not one of my fave Ulmer releases. Largely due to his choice of supporting musicians, some of whom are recognized artists on their own. Here they either excessively dominate (Laswell), or fail to impress (Worrell). The end result is a bit of a hybrid, more of an experiment than a resounding success.

Bill Laswell (bass) is another talented any very unique artist, but with a habit of imposing himself on others. Be that Pharoah Sanders, Ginger Baker, or even long gone Miles Davis by "reconstructing" some of his early 70's tracks. Here, he managed to nail Ulmer down as well.

A true chameleon in music, playing styles between Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Indo-Raga, Industrial, Avant, but largely Dub. On "Blue Blood" he wears his Dub hat and it doesn't really come off to my liking as a successful combination with Ulmer.

Bernie Worrell (organ) is also represented in my collection as a sideman on many albums. In all honesty, his contributions have never really captured my attention and here it is of no exception, Chances are that I am missing something, but truly, I wouldn't miss him on this album, either.

My conclusion is that it's a somewhat enjoyable release, but far from Ulmer's best - due to the Dub elements..

BORA | 3/5 |


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