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James Blood Ulmer: Free Lancing (Columbia)

Richard C. Walls, Creem, February 1982

ULMER IS A 39-year-old guitarist who's come up thru' blues bands and organ/guitar trios, thru the Del Vikings and Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, thru Ornette Coleman and harmolodics (a musical system which re-defines both the basic approach to playing an instrument by putting the emphasis on the sound desired by the player rather than the sound predetermined by the physical structure of the instrument and the role of the player in a group by advocating the constant shifting of the roles of lead and rhythm), thru new wave venues and critics' theses on punk jazz, to arrive at the hallowed Columbia House with, whatever you may think of the hype and theorizing, one of the most strikingly original sounds in modern music. It's not every day that a major label does well by a major artist of an avant-garde persuasion and the reader is advised to take advantage of this quirk of capitalist realism...

Total word count of piece: 660

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