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James Blood Ulmer

Primary Instrument: Guitar

Born: February 2, 1942    

James Blood Ulmer

Free jazz has not produced many notable guitarists. Experimental musicians drawn to the guitar have had few jazz role models; consequently, they've typically looked to rock-based players for inspiration. James “Blood” Ulmer is one of the few exceptions—an outside guitarist who has forged a style based largely on the traditions of African-American vernacular music. Ulmer is an adherent of saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman's vaguely defined Harmolodic theory, which essentially subverts jazz's harmonic component in favor of freely improvised, non-tonal, or quasi-modal counterpoint. Ulmer plays with a stuttering, vocalic attack; his lines are frequently texturally and chordally based, inflected with the accent of a soul-jazz tenor saxophonist. That's not to say his sound is untouched by the rock tradition—the influence of Jimi Hendrix on Ulmer is strong—but it's mixed with blues, funk, and free jazz elements. The resultant music is an expressive, hard-edged, loudly amplified hybrid that is, at its best, on a level with the finest of the Harmolodic school....
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  • In And Out
    In+out record
    2010
  • In And Out
    Warner Bros. Records
    2009
  • Bad Blood in the City: The Piety Street Sessions
    Hyena Records
    2008
  • Bad Blood In The City: The Piety Street Sessions
    Hyena Records
    2007
  • Birthright
    Hyena Records
    2005
  • No Escape from the Blues: The Electric Lady Sessions
    Hyena Records
    2004
  • Guitar Music
    Warner Bros. Records
    2003
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Featured recording “In And Out”

In And Out
In+out record (2009)

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