James Blood Ulmer was once described by the omnipotent Village Voice music critic and co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, Greg Tate, as: “…the missing link between Jimi Hendrix and Wes Montgomery on one hand, between P-Funk and Mississippi Fred McDowell on the other.” Indeed, the 70-year old guitarist, vocalist and composer hovers atop the pantheon of American music mavericks. Forging an unyielding synthesis of musical styles, vision and virtuosity, Ulmer has left an indelible mark on those keen ears who’ve dared to follow him to that intangible place where the fiercest, most holy music occurs.
Whether it’s art imitating life or life imitating art, the trials of James Blood Ulmer’s career have only made his art that much more potent. It appears he’s capable of channeling life’s experiences through his soul in order to lay it bare in the music. If he were never to record again, his reputation as an American music pioneer is already cemented in stone. One would think, however, that there’s a great deal more to come, because Blood lives the music, is the music and he’ll grow old bringing the music. And as always, that devout audience with big ears and keen instincts will be taking it all in. And perhaps a new generation will show-up, glad to be in America, digging James Blood Ulmer.