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James Blood Ulmer

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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James Blood Ulmer Tales Of Captain Black album cover
4.35 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Theme From Captain Black 3:14
2. Moons Shine 3:52
3. Morning Bride 4:57
4. Revelation March 4:32
5. Woman Coming 3:38
6. Nothing To Say 4:13
7. Arena 4:24
8. Revealing 4:42

Line-up / Musicians

Drums - Denardo Coleman
Electric Bass - Jamaaladeen Tacuma
Electric Guitar - James Blood
Saxophone [Alto] - Ornette Coleman

Releases information

Recorded at R.P.M. Sound Studios, Inc., New York City, December 5, 1978

LP : Artists House AH 7 (US) King Records K26P 6148 (Japan)

re-issued on CD by DIW Records in 1996 (alternative cover)

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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JAMES BLOOD ULMER Tales Of Captain Black ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JAMES BLOOD ULMER Tales Of Captain Black reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Wow!

It happened to me I first heard James album from 2003 with interesting, unusual vintage blues songs. I really liked his simple but personal guitar sounds and vocals there, but hardly imagine he could be avant garde jazz guitar player.

Then, when I found this, his very early album from late 70-s, I decided just to check it. Without too big expectation. And I must to say now I change my mind!

From very first sounds I understood - there is very different music from Ulmer's blues! OK, album's line-up included Ornette Coleman on sax and his son Denardo on drums, Prime Time's bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma as well. So - the music on this album was what could be expected from such musicians - free jazz. With Ulmer's electric guitar and funky feeling, but at the same time with some simplistic rhythm and structures. With late 70-s pre-punk NY downtown atmosphere. Amazing!

Most important, Ulmer brings to album's music some melodic elements and Hendrix' guitar atmosphere, what makes the great free form music slightly framed, more landed and simply complex at the same time. No filler - all compositions sound in their place. And such a great moment's atmosphere from studio album!

Yes, this album changed my minds about Ulmer's music. Very recommended to everyone interested in free funk roots, or any free jazz from late 70-s, you will find one great album there.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Tales of Captain Black hit the world of jazz-rock fusion in the late 70s like a hot slap in the face. Following on the heels of his mentor Ornette Coleman's release 'Dancing in Your Head', on which Ulmer played guitar, Blood Ulmer continues Ornette's excursions into bizarre avant rock- jazz in a style that was a bold affront to the reigning fuzak of the day. 'Tales' picks up Ornette's rambling Captain Beefheart flavored rural cubist jagged RnB and adds more avant-garde elements, especially in the bizarre rhythms supplied by the uncompromising drummer son of Ornette, Denardo Coleman. Whereas 'Dancing in Your Head' tended to hit a weird groove and stay there, the tunes on 'Tales' often feature multiple part poly-rhythms with each of the four band members seeming to operate independently of each other.

Trying to describe this music is tough, along with the aforementioned Don Van Vliet, John French and Ornette Coleman precedents, there is also an influence of avant-garde European concert hall chamber music in the clarity and independence of the individual instrumental lines. Some might also hear a Chris Cutler/Fred Frith influence in some of the rambling improvisations. Although little of this music may resemble Hendrix on the surface, Jimi's presence is felt in Ulmer's raw upfront guitar sound and frequent use of a wah pedal. Keep in mind that in 78-79, when this album came out, working class guitar virtuosos were hard to come by as guitar less Kraftwerk clones and chops-challenged punk rockers ruled the day and wah-wah pedals were neither seen nor heard.

Uncompromising, unconventional and as raw as the NYC streets from which it came, Tales of Captain Black still sounds as fresh today as it did when it first came out when very little else sounded like it. Tough and unpolished, yet sophisticated and intellectual at the same time, this album is a rare work of genius.

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