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James Blood Ulmer “Tales of Captain Black” (1979)

“HOLY CRAP!” is a good summary of my reaction to Tales of Captain Black. If you ever wanted to hear a Jazz album that could match…make that surpass Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica then this is it. It’s a Free-Jazz-Post-Punk-Polka-Funk-Blues merry-go-round, pushing the limits of any music listener’s tolerance levels. The most famous member of the band is certainly Ornette Coleman. He’s great company for James Blood Ulmer. You can hear briefly from time to time that Ulmer is a great Blues guitarist as well, when he’s not being a demon. Bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma books it at light speed. And Denardo Coleman’s performance makes me wonder if anyone has ever recorded the drumming tracks for an album by mounting a small drum kit to a horse, having their beats thrown off by galloping and bucking of freaked-out horse as they rode it around the studio. That would be pretty “Free-Jazz” of them. –Rob

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