Amoeblog

Ornette Coleman & James Blood Ulmer 1974

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 25, 2009 11:21pm | Post a Comment
I was thinking about James Blood Ulmer, who is one of my favorite guitar players. As great as musicians John Coltrane and Miles Davis were (and still are), they have many legions of imitators who sound just like them. I love Ulmer for the same reason I love Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy; The minute you hear Dolphy, you know it's Dolphy. No one can copy their style. It's both out and in, rooted in church blues, structured in classical music and improvisational all at the same time.

I was already a fan of James Blood Ulmer a few years back as I was playing legendary organist John Patton's album, Accent On The Blues. The song was a breezy soul jazz piece that suddenly came to life with a crazy guitar solo. I didn't even have to read the credits to know it was Ulmer, but I checked anyway. Sure enough, it was him.

I didn't know much about James Blood Ulmer's work with Ornette Coleman. I searching the internet and stumbled upon this video.The song is called "Theme from a Symphony from Dancing in Your Head." The band is Ornette on soprano sax, Blood Ulmer on guitar, Norris Sirone Jones on bass, and the late great Billy Higgins on drums. It's from 1974. I love the way the song starts. It sounds like Blood Ulmer is playing a Velvet Underground song under Ornette's sax line. Together, both musicians compliment each other as they are both heavily rooted in the blues. It is as beautiful as it is abstract. I love it!


Today James Blood Ulmer's music is less jazz and more funk/blues oriented and that great tone as morphed a bit. He sounds what I'd imagine Hendrix would have sounded like now if he was still alive. Check out some of his newer tracks on his myspace page.

The Story Of Calvin Weston (and Tony)-1986

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 8, 2008 01:53am | Post a Comment

Tony was uptight about loaning out his drum kit. It wasn’t because he thought another drummer would damage his kit. The reason was that he played in a band that opened up for the guitar legend James Blood Ulmer back in 1986. Ulmer’s band used to tour without a back line and would borrow the opening band’s equipment.

On that evening, Tony felt his playing was exceptional. After his set, James Blood Ulmer’s drummer Calvin Weston asked Tony if he could borrow his kit. Feeling confident, Tony agreed. Calvin liked Tony’s kit, it was set up just the way he liked he liked it and would have to make very little modifications to it.

After James Blood Ulmer’s first song, Tony regretted loaning out his kit. Calvin was amazing and had erased anything he had played before. It wasn't just that Calvin was better than Tony that night, but he showed him up on his own kit.

Currently, Calvin Weston is on tour, playing with the Noise Jazz group Monster Cock Rally, out of Oakland. They are playing several shows up and down California this week.

Here are some pic’s from their show at Mr. T’s Bowl with Mike Watt’s Missingmen. Damn...now I know what Tony meant.