Tuesday, April 5, 2011

James Blood Ulmer @ Jazz Standard 3/24/11

Whoa! What a great thing to have between listening to The Layla Sessions and ABB. There was almost another live show, but I didn't get out of there until 9:05. They played til 8:45 and the waiter didn't drop the check until close to then. I had visions of either Jazz Gallery or Village Vanguard in my head before that. It's OK because the music was incredible AND it gave me an excuse to finally stop by Ninth Ward on my way home. That place deserves it's own post.

The phenomenal set started out with the band minus James. Each member took a kickass solo starting with the extraordinary Charlie Burnham with his violin hooked up to an amp. That set the tone for the amazingness. Charlie was like another guitar, stellar, unbelievable sounds kept coming from him. I mean, there were tears in the audience due to his playing. Every note of his playing was awesome, although I must admit Little Red Rooster was even more blown away amazing than the rest. I mean, that's up there as one of the best Little Red Rooster's I've ever heard.

Vernon announced James Blood Ulmer after the 1st song and things turned slightly more bluesy and less electric. Only a slightly different shade of what we first experienced. It was still fantastic. James stayed out until close to the end and each of his stellar "sidemen" gave me something to gawk at at various times. James is great, just more of a backbone while the phenomenal sidemen he hired to play the songs he chose take the theatrics.

It was fantastic and I knew I had to come back before they ended their stint at Jazz Standard.
Thursday - Sunday March 24 - 27
James Blood Ulmer – vocals, guitar
Vernon Reid – guitar
Charles Burnham – violin
David Barnes – harmonica
Leon Gruenbaum – piano, Hammond B-3 organ
Mark Peterson – bass
Aubrey Dale – drums

James Blood Ulmer is among the most distinctive and influential electric guitarists to emerge in the past four decades. Over time, Blood’s reputation has morphed from that of an avant–garde jazz visionary out of the Ornette Coleman school to elder statesman of the African–American musical vernacular encom¬passing jazz, blues, funk, and whatever lies beyond. This Jazz Standard engagement celebrates the tenth anniversary of his Grammy Award–nominated album Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions (2001, Hyena), which featured Ulmer’s deeply personal renditions of timeless blues standards by Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters. Blood’s special guest this week will be guitar hero Vernon Reid, founder of the pioneering Black rock group Living Colour.

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