Wednesday, November 25, 2015

James Blood Ulmer - 1983 - Odyssey

James Blood Ulmer  

01. Church 4:54
02. Little Red House 4:45
03. Love Dance 5:05
04. Are You Glad To Be In America? 3:40
05. Election 3:26
06. Odyssey 5:01
07. Please Tell Her 4:10
08. Swing & Things 4:32

Drums - Warren Benbow
Guitar, Vocals - James Blood Ulmer
Violin - Charles Burnham

This record moves towards and has all the best elements of Jazz that are so close to Prog, as to become invisible borders. For newcomers JBU sounds like JBU. No latin or world jazz fusions, closer to old traditional blues standards, his language in composition makes no compromises to this school not another.
His approach is completely free of cliches, in fact it is quiet wild, BUT, not funky at all. Intelligent songs performed tightlly by an interesting bass-less trio. Violin, drums and the virtuous JBU's electric guitars and mysticaly subversive vocals.

This effort is completely prog do not mistake its intentions. In fact, if the" Post/Jazz-Rock" tagging was available, ODYSSEY will fit in perfectly.

So as mentioned do not expect, Mahavishnu, Chick Corea, O. Coleman or even Miles kind of prog/jazz . Odyssey stands alone, closer if need to compare to, with Hendrix personal song writing, without the funk (and bass player), but with all the prog-fury and gentleness required. The comparisson comes in quiet handy considering JBU's guitar playing skills.

Highly recommendable for any prog audiophile, it trascends its own roots to become a any prog follower great aquisition.



  2. I was fortunate to see James Blood Ulmer & this band during their Odyssey tour, they were fantastic. As the review says, this album is really nothing like "fusion" in its usual sense, not really blues either and the Hendrix similarities are sparse. During the Captain Black period I remember he was associated with the New York "no wave" scene which combined free jazz, funk & punk influences together into a noisy amalgam. It's also interesting that Ulmer is known for tuning his guitar "harmolodically" meaning all the strings are tuned to the same note... exactly what Lou Reed did on the Velvets' first album. Cheers

  3. Thank you, much appreciated.
    I agree that this is hard to describe.