9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
36 minutes in length approximately. The digitally mastered sound is very good,with an overall subtle warmth,with no jarringly hard edges. The booklet gives a concise look at Ulmer's life in music up through this album.
This album features James "Blood" Ulmer on guitar (no vocals),the great if somewhat unknown George Adams on various horns (tenor sax,bass clarinet),the well known bassist Cecil McBee,and Doug Hammond on drums,who shows he can play full out or subtly fill in when called for.
This is James "Blood" Ulmer's first album as a leader. All the tracks were written by him,and he also produced the album,which was recorded in New York City in 1977. A disciple of Ornette Coleman's harmolodic principles (he also lived and played with Coleman),Ulmer has played with musicians such as Art Blakey,Joe Henderson,and Archie Shepp among other notable jazz artists. Another influence was his playing on the chittlin' circuit early on in his career,with various bands.
All of these influences are woven into this album. Early influences like guitarists Kenny Burrell and Grant Green are apparent at times (listen to "Raw Groove"),as well as Coleman's (hear parts of "Love Nest") theories. Ulmer's guitar tone is warm,with a slight organic feel to it-not the hard-edged,slightly sterile sound found in some of his later playing,when he continued his musical experimentation.
The music on this album is not free form jazz with no (or virtually no) melodies. These are written out compositions with a beginning,middle and end-even though sometimes there's an abruptness in some of the compositions. But the combination of Ulmer's compositions and the sensitive rhythm section allows both Ulmer and Adams (listen to "Overtime",where both shine) to stretch the music into slightly outside areas. This is an album that anyone who likes a combination of straight ahead jazz,with leanings toward slightly more adventurous playing (the guitar and bass clarinet on "Love Nest") will find much to like. This album has been difficult to find in the past. Now,with this re-release,fans can get a glimpse of James "Blood" Ulmer on his very first recordings as a leader. It was worth the wait.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2013
This is some of his earliest work, and it just doesn't show him in full form. It's all right, but it seems a little hesitant, which is strange when we're talking about someone with such a wild style. Some of the best work on the album comes from saxophonist George Adams.