James “Blood” Ulmer

The role of the guitar in jazz has not mirrored its role in other modern musics. Few have risen to prominence on the instrument or grown out of the supporting role it has typically played in jazz. Of those who have, one of the most notable is James “Blood” Ulmer. From his first days as Ornette Coleman’s Harmolodic guitarist in Prime Time, “Blood’s” path to guitar innovator was a rather fast one. In the ten year period between ‘73, when he began his formal relationship with Harmolodics and Ornette Coleman, to ‘83 when he recorded what is today recognized as one of the epochal albums of the 80’s James “Blood” Ulmer’s Odyssey, it can be argued that “Blood’s” evolution and impact on the guitar was the logical outgrowth of Hendrix and as just significant. The band on that Odyssey album, “Blood”, Charles Burnham and Warren Benbow, have since become known as Odyssey the Band and are recognized today as the quintessential Ulmer band. A return of this band to recording after a seven year lay-off is a cause for celebration and a call to those who may have forgotten to take notice. A return as musically engaging and powerful as this one is a reminder of how startlingly original, innovative and downright forceful James “Blood” Ulmer is as an artist.

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The 56th Annual Down Beat Critic’s Poll results are in and we are pleased to say that a number of Pi Recording’s artists have been recognized for their work over the past year.

  • Muhal Richard Abrams received 32 votes towards Hall of Fame consideration.

  • The Vijay Iyer Quartet received 33 votes in the Rising Star Jazz Group category. Additionally, Vijay received 47 votes in the Rising Star Composer category, 28 votes in the Rising Star Jazz Artist category and 60 votes in the Rising Star Piano category. Tyshawn Sorey also received Rising Star Jazz Artist consideration with 23 votes as well as 29 votes in the Rising Star Drums category.

  • Roscoe Mitchell received 38 votes in the Soprano Saxophone category.

  • Rudresh Mahanthappa received 23 votes in the Alto Saxophone category and 85 votes in the Rising Star Alto Saxophone category. Steve Lehman also received Rising Star Alto Saxophone with 48 votes.

  • Henry Threadgill received 39 votes in the Flute category.

  • Corey Wilkes received 35 votes in the Rising Star Trumpet category.

  • Marc Ribot received 26 votes and James “Blood” Ulmer received 25 votes in the Guitar category. Additionally, “Blood” received 50 votes in the Blues Artist/Group category.

Pi Recordings would like to thank all of the critics who recognize the work of our artists year after year.

posted on July 13, 2008 by Seth

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