James Blood Ulmer
Though his career has been inconsistent, Ulmer's had enough "on" moments to rank as one of the most exciting jazz guitarists of the past twenty years. He's instantly recognizable for his jagged, knotty phrasing and unique harmonic sense. Comfortable working in a wide variety of genres, from Funk and rock to Bop and Soul Jazz, Ulmer is best known as an exponent of the so-called "Free Funk" genre spawned by saxophonist and mentor Ornette Coleman's mid-1970s electric band Prime Time. Tales of Captain Black (1978) and Are You Glad to Be in America? (1980) are prime examples of this style, blending aggressive rock/Funk dynamics with frantic, constantly morphing group interplay. Their success, however, painted Ulmer into an avant-garde corner he didn't want to be in; his inclusion of more "straight" blues and R&B-oriented songs (featuring his own gravelly vocals) on subsequent records alienated many listeners who found the results unfocused. By the late '90s, he shifted to a more compartmentalized approach to releasing records, and in doing so has regained some of the momentum he lost in the mid-1980s.
James Blood Ulmer Concert Films
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
James Blood Ulmer
Runtime: 50 minJames Blood Ulmer is one of the few guitarists to have forged a style based largely on the traditions of African-American vernacular music. Ulmer is an adherent of saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman's vaguely defined Harmelodic theory and plays with a stuttering, vocalic attack; his jagged lines speak with the authority of a free jazz improviser and the accent of a soul-jazz tenor saxophonist. His solo guitar work is an expressive, hard-edged, loudly amplified hybrid. But Ulmer isn't limited in his musical scope. In these sessions, he reveals himself to be an instant inventor of repute on the flute and a memorable songwriter and blues singer.
James Blood Ulmer Top Tracks
Live: The Real Deal
Runtime: 55 minBuddy Guy Live: The Real Deal features the legendary bluesman in a special set at his own Chicago club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, with guitarist G.E. Smith and The Saturday Night Live Band.
The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music
Runtime: 1 hr 41 minOn Saturday, May 3, 2014, esteemed musicians and friends joined together for “The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music”, a special concert event taping honoring this musical icon in his hometown of New Orleans. Taking place at the historic Saenger Theatre in the French Quarter, the concert paid homage to Dr. John’s illustrious songbook and featured once-in-a-lifetime collaborations from a lineup of prestigious and award-winning artists. Produced by Blackbird Presents blackbirdpresents.com
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
Runtime: 48 minWith his unique and recognizable style, pianist Matthew Shipp worked and recorded vigorously during the 1990s, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwine. He first became known in the early '90s as the pianist in the David S. Ware Quartet, and soon began leading his own dates - most often including Ware bandmate, leading bassist William Parker - and recording a number of duets with a variety of musicians, from the legendary Roscoe Mitchell to violinist Mat Maneri, who began appearing on recordings in the 1990s. Through his range of live and recorded performances, and unswerving individual development, Shipp came to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music by the decade's close.
70th Birthday Concert
Runtime: 2 hr 3 minLiverpools Kings Dock on July 19 2003 was the venue for a long awaited and much anticipated reunion between Eric Clapton and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. The occasion was both a celebration of John Mayalls 70th year and a fundraiser for Unicef. Also invited to the party were former Bluesbreaker and Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and veteran trombonist Chris Barber. If youre a lover of the blues it doesnt get much better than this. The show ran for around two and a half hours and the film is now presented here in its entirety for the first time.
Live at Montreux
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minFilmed just a year before his untimely death from cancer, this 1992 concert from Montreux finds the great Albert Collins still in fine form. With his trademark Fender Telecaster and distinctive finger picking style well to the fore "The Iceman" delivers a set that runs from his early million selling single "Frosty" right up to songs from his final studio album "Iceman". As an added bonus there are four lengthy tracks from Albert Collins' 1979 appearance at Montreux.
Live at Ronnie Scott's
Runtime: 1 hr 40 minJeff Beck is a true rock legend. From his time with the Yardbirds in the sixties, through the Jeff Beck Group and throughout his solo career his unique guitar style and constant desire to explore new musical areas and sounds has won him the admiration of his peers and the adoration of legions of fans. In 2007 Jeff Beck performed a series of concerts at the renowned Ronnie Scotts club in London. They became the must have ticket of the year with a packed audience every night of the famous and the fans. This program features pieces recorded across the different nights and presents the best version of each track. Jeff is also joined by guests Joss Stone, Imogen Heap and Eric Clapton for some very special performances.
Down and Dirty
Runtime: 1 hr 27 min“I always like stories about people that drink and have drug problems and women problems,” said Johnny in the film. “It’s just interesting.” Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty, the definitive, feature-length documentary by acclaimed Lemmy co-director and producer, Greg Olliver, will be available worldwide on March 4, 2016, on DVD and iTunes. The package will feature never-before-seen photos and bonus footage, including extended interviews and his final studio performance, a solo resonator version of the Son House classic, “Death Letter.” Produced independently through Secret Weapon Films in NYC, director Greg Olliver was welcomed into the Johnny Winter family during the final two years of Johnny’s life, capturing the making of his Grammy-winning Step Back (Best Blues Album, 2015), and traveling the world from Beaumont to Hong Kong. Winter continued to perform over 200 sold out shows a year until his death on tour in Switzerland in 2014. The film also features Clive Davis, Edgar Winter, James Cotton, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Luther Nallie, Joe Perry, Tommy Shannon, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and more.
Live in Africa
Runtime: 43 minWhen Muhammad Ali and George Foreman staged their heavyweight title fight in Zaire in 1974, a three-day music festival was held in tandem with the bout, and headliner B.B. King proved why he's regarded as the world's premier blues guitarist with this dynamic concert performed for an audience of 80,000 African fans (look carefully to spot Ali enjoying the show).
The Miles Davis Story
Runtime: 2 hr 4 minTrumpeter-bandleader Miles Davis (1926-91) was a catalyst for the major innovations in post-bop, cool jazz, hard-bop, and jazz-fusion, and his wispy and emotional trumpet tones were some of the most evocative sounds ever heard. He was also one of the most identifiable and misunderstood pop icons of the 20th century. This engrossing British documentary shows the complex layers of this magnificent and mercurial artist. Through rare footage and interviews, we learn of Davis's middle-class upbringing and his early days with bop legends Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The documentary bluntly deals with Davis's narcotic nadir and his rise from the depths to become a bona fide jazz icon in the mid-'50s to late '60s. But the most penetrating and poignant portraits of Davis come from musicians who played with and were influenced by him, including Shirley Horn, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Jarrett.
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
Runtime: 48 minGuitarist John Abercrombie combines bop and free jazz stylistic elements with electronics utilizing phase shifters, guitar synthesizers and the good old volume pedal. What has kept his playing fresh is his refusal to be chained to these digital devices. As he told Down Beat writer Bill Milkowski, "I try to adjust my playing to the timbre and learn something about how to play that sound, yet at the same time I have to try and force the instrument to play with me a little bit. In other word, I sometimes try to overplay the instrument."
Runtime: 52 minThe Jazz Sessions spotlights Andrew Hill, a great and even groundbreaking composer and pianist. While many of his contemporaries were totally jettisoning the rhythmic and harmonic techniques of bop and hard bop, Hill worked to extend their possibilities; his was a revolution from within. He exhibited a determined command of his materials, however abstract they might sometimes be. His composed melodies were labyrinthine, rhythmically and harmonically complex tunes that exhibit a sophistication born of mastery, not chance or contingency.
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minAn up-close portrayal of Frisell, filmed by Daniel Berman at the Berkeley Church in Toronto. This rare solo session features an intimate look into his electric guitar and looping wizardry, and includes an exclusive interview with Frisell. On the taping of Solos Frisell comments, "It's a weird thing playing solo. I live for the interaction with other musicians."
Legends in Concert
Runtime: 43 minJazz Legends - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (1929-1943) by Duke Ellington, includes a series of short films made in Hollywood featuring Ellington performing his biggest hits: Black And Tan (1929) directed by Dudley Murphy; Check and Double Check (1930) directed by Melville Brown; Symphony in Black (1934) directed by Fred Waller; Paramount Pictoral No.889 (1937); The Hit Parade of 1937; and RKO Jamboree No.7 (1943) directed by Jay Bonafield. .