The Thing with Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric and double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion, are joined by Downtown NY legend, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, for a live set at the Moldel International Jazz Festival in 2015 performing an exuberant and all-out impressive set of Ulmer composions.
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Label: The Thing Records
Catalog ID: TTR 006CD
Squidco Product Code: 24821
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at the Moldel International Jazz Festival, in Mode, Sweden, on July 15th, 2015, by Mikael Werlin.
James Blood Ulmer-guitar
Mats Gustafsson-tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten-electric bass, double bass
Paal Nilssen-Love-drums, percussion
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1. Interview 8:08
2. High Yellow 10:29
3. Baby Talk 5:55
4. Proof 8:58
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"Live at Molde International Jazz Festival 2015. All music by James Blood Ulmer. Viking jazz band The Thing team up with one of the legendary men of jazz and blues. Guitarist and singer Ulmer combines (free) jazz, blues, funk, and rock -- always on the edge, melting it to some kind of free funk... In 1980, Ulmer recorded the genre milestone No Wave with John Zorn and Pharoah Sanders."-Trost
"It was a predestined meeting. This collaboration between the legendary guitarist James Blood Ulmer and the band The Thing. Ulmer, who cut his teeth with the soul jazz organists Hank Marr, Larry Young and Big John Patton before collaborating with Ornette Coleman's electric free jazz/funk harmolodic music, expanded upon Coleman's ideas, incorporating rock music with players like Ronald Shannon Jackson, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and Calvin Weston. His more recent work like Birthright (Hyena, 2005) and No Escape From The Blues: The Electric Lady Sessions (Hyena, 2003) conjure the roots tradition of the blues. In any context though, his guitar sound is distinctive.
Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and his partners in The Thing, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love covered the Ulmer piece "Baby Talk" along with compositions by Don Cherry, Frank Wright, Joe McPhee, Ornette Coleman and PJ Harvey on their first album She Knows... (Crazy Wisdom, 2001). At the time, what was probably thought of as a one off session, has turned into an in-demand outfit. The Thing have produced more than a dozen sessions, often collaborating with their contemporaries and heroes like McPhee, Barry Guy, Ken Vandermark, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O'Rourke, Neneh Cherry, and Thurston Moore. Their brand of self-described garage rock/free jazz music has the spark of that much of modern jazz eschews-a DIY punk aesthetic.
In the context of The Thing's development as a band, and their often scorched earth sets, it is quite remarkable how Ulmer's music is treated with such appreciation here. The spotlight rarely departs from his guitar, even when Gustafsson is exorcising demons with his tenor saxophone on "High Yellow," and Nilssen-Love is trashing out beats on his drum set. Ulmer's picked notes spring (or are sprung) almost unimpeded by the Scandinavian trio. Yes, Blood Ulmer hasn't lost the harmolodic lessons learned from Ornette Coleman. It leaks out everywhere. The title track plays like a child's nursery rhyme, expanding on repeated patterns upon which each player gets an opportunity to build. Any extraordinary recording."-Mark Corroto, All About JazzAlso available on vinyl LP.
Get additional information at All About Jazz
• Show Bio for James Blood Ulmer
"James "Blood" Ulmer (born February 2 or 8, 1940) is an American jazz, free funk and blues guitarist and singer. Ulmer plays a Gibson Byrdland guitar. His distinctive guitar sound has been described as "jagged" and "stinging". Ulmer's singing has been called "raggedly soulful".
Willie James Ulmer was born in St. Matthews, South Carolina. He began his career playing with various soul jazz ensembles, first in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1959Ð1964, and then in the Columbus, Ohio region, from 1964Ð1967. He first recorded with organist Hank Marr in 1964 (released 1967). After moving to New York in 1971, Ulmer played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Joe Henderson, Paul Bley, Rashied Ali and Larry Young.
In the early 1970s, Ulmer joined Ornette Coleman; he was the first electric guitarist to record and tour extensively with Coleman. He has credited Coleman as a major influence, and Coleman's strong reliance on electric guitar in his fusion-oriented recordings owes a distinct debt to Ulmer.
His appearance on Arthur Blythe's two consecutive Columbia albums, Lenox Avenue Breakdown and Illusions, was followed by Ulmer's signing to that label. That resulted in three albums: Free Lancing, Black Rock, and 1983's Odyssey, which was the inaugural release of his Odyssey The Band with drummer Warren Benbow and violinist Charles Burnham, a trio that has continued to perform and record to this day. It was described at the time as "avant-gutbucket", leading writer Bill Milkowski to describe the music as "conjuring images of Skip James and Albert Ayler jamming on the Mississippi Delta."
He formed a group called the Music Revelation Ensemble circa 1980, initially co-led with David Murray for the first decade, that lasted into the mid-90s. Later recorded incarnations of the group featured either Arthur Blythe, Sam Rivers, Pharoah Sanders or John Zorn on saxophones. In the 1980s he co-led, with saxophonist George Adams, the Phalanx quartet.
Ulmer has recorded many albums as a leader, including a recent quartet of acclaimed blues-oriented records produced by Vernon Reid: Memphis Blood, No Escape from the Blues, Bad Blood in the City, and the solo guitar & vocals album Birthright.
Ulmer was a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists.
In a 2005 Down Beat interview, Ulmer opined that guitar technique had not advanced since the death of Jimi Hendrix. He stated that technique could advance "if the guitar would stop following the piano," and indicated that he tunes all of his guitar strings to A.
In 2009, Ulmer started his own label, American Revelation, which has released four CDs to date; all are available only from his website, or at his shows.
In spring 2011, Ulmer joined saxophone luminary James Carter's organ trio as a special guest along with Nicholas Payton on trumpet for a six-night stand of performances at Blue Note New York."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Blood_Ulmer)
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• Show Bio for Mats Gustafsson
"Born 1964 in Umeå, Northern Sweden.Saxplayer, improviser and composer. Solo artist and international tours and projects with a.o. Sonic Youth, Merzbow, Jim O´Rourke, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Yoshimi, Ken Vandermark and in working groups The Thing, FIRE!, Gush, Boots Brown, Swedish Azz and Fake (the facts). Large ensemble work with Barry Guy New Orchestra,FIRE! Orchestra and the NU - ensemble.over 1800 concerts and over 200 record productions in Europe, Australia, Africa, North & South America and Asia.Collaborations with contemporary dance, theater, art, poetry as well as projects with noise, electronica, contemporary rock and free jazz.Discaholic - running the discaholic corner website.Producer of international festivals and concert tours as well as work with own record labels Slottet, OlofBright Editions and Blue Tower Records."-Mats Gustafsson Website (http://matsgus.com/archives/category/bio)
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• Show Bio for Ingebrigt Haker Flaten
"Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b. 1971, Oppdal) - studied Jazz at the Music Consevatory in Trondheim, Norway (1992-1995) under the tutelage of bassplayer Odd Magne Gridseth.
When one listens to the great bassists in modern jazz history, a striking thing (though it may not be immediately arrived at) is that greatness is reached through open-mindedness and diversity. William Parker, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Peter Kowald, Wilbur Ware, Bertram Turetsky, Buell Neidlinger - all of these bass players have embraced a lifestyle of playing all sorts of music and the breadth of each musicians' technique is a testament to those experiences. Norwegian bassist and composer Ingebrigt Håker Flaten is also a musician whose experience is both geographical and aesthetic. While the fertile Scandinavian new jazz scene offered a vast amount of opportunities to work in different bands with musicians whose concepts are as individual as the grains in a reed, Flaten has found home and on-the-bandstand education in places as far flung as Chicago and his current residence Austin, Texas.
A muscular player whose tone and attack run the gamut from Paul Chambers to Buschi Niebergall, his sense of both openness and control serves ensembles as diverse as The Thing, Free Fall, Atomic, Scorch Trio and the Kornstad/Håker Flaten Duo. In addition to his own Chicago Sextet and Austin-centric Young Mothers, Flaten has also recorded and performed with Frode Gjerstad, Dave Rempis, Bobby Bradford, the AALY Trio, Ken Vandermark, Stephen Gauci, Tony Malaby, Daniel Levin, Dennis Gonzalez and numerous others. Flaten studied at the Conservatory in Trondheim (1992-1995), turning professional shortly afterward, yet his hunger to play in new situations with new musicians - schooled or amateur, frequently recorded or just starting out - puts him in a rare class, that of a truly broad-minded artist. That mettle has served him well, living and developing the music under his own steam and drawing from influences as diverse as Derek Bailey, George Russell, Chris McGregor, filmmakers Ingmar Bergman, contemporary pop melody and gritty punk music as well as everyday sights and sounds.
There is a calmness and self-assuredness that imbues all great artists, in that the diversity of their work comes with very little ego. Flaten's artistry is often in collective, leaderless ensembles and in fact, following a decade of professional musicianship it wasn't until 2004 that his leader-debut was released - Quintet (Jazzland, followed in 2008 by The Year of the Boar, and a Sextet recording is upcoming). This latter fact is partly due to the necessity of a copacetic situation - in an interview in 2010 with the Austinist he noted that "I use people where I'm located. It's inspiring to have your own band to write for, but you have to make sure that people feel free and not limited by the music; the compositions should lead the way to a player's open mind, and that is a challenge." Certainly not every bandleader/composer thinks this way.
In 2011, he formed another ensemble, The Young Mothers, which includes drummers Stefan Gonzalez (Dallas) and Frank Rosaly (Chicago), trumpeter/poet/rapper Jawaad Taylor (New York), saxophonist Jason Jackson (Houston), and Jonathan Horne (Austin) on guitar. It's a group of varying levels and influences and as it grows organically, will be another excellent lens through which to view Flaten's aesthetic, philosophy, and musicianship. The next few years see him in a position where established ensembles can steep and spread their influence, while experimenting with and nurturing a wide range of new relationships."-Ingebrigt Haker Flaten Website (http://www.ingebrigtflaten.com/about-me/)
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• Show Bio for Paal Nilssen-Love
"Paal Nilssen-Love was born in Molde, Norway, Dec 24. 1974, and raised at a jazz club in Stavanger, run by his parents. It was natural to choose his fathers drums as his instrument and jazz as his work. From 1990 on he took actively part in the jazz milieu in Stavanger and joined bands with established musicians such as trumpeter Didrik Ingvaldsen and saxophonist Frode Gjerstad. In many ways, these collaborations were essential as they pointed out the directions for Paal's later musical development and career. During his studies at the Jazz dept at the University in Trondheim, where the first self initiated bands were established, things developed really fast - and Paal was nationally acknowledged at the age of 20.
The forming of the quartet Element in 1993 in many ways represented the start of a new phase in Paal's musical life. Element musically became a platform for several other groups with bassist Flaten and pianist Wiik, and lead to collaborations with Iain Ballamy and Chris Potter, amongst others. Paal moved to Oslo in 1996, where he joined and/or took part in the forming of bands like Vindaloo, SAN, Håkon Kornstad Tio, The Quintet and Frode Gjerstad Trio. He later on got more into self initiated projects and collaborations with Swedish musicians, such as pianist Sten Sandell and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson.
Paal played his first solo concert in 1999, and since then the solo concept has been an important part of his work: "Everyone should try doing some solo work, just to feel who you really are and what gets you going". His solo album "Sticks and stones" was put out in 2001 on SOFA Rec.
Being active in several bands at the same time has always been Paal's deliberate working method. He is constantly conscious about the projects he is in, as his participation in each and one of them is fully dedicated. Playing is not about getting from start to goal, but rather being in an everlasting process, a continuous movement where each new piece of music performed is a prolongation of the latest. Hence, keeping focused and concentrating all energy around what's happening there and then is of greatest importance - as is the freedom in the music, the ability of being free within the expression.
All bands, although various styles and musical versatility in general, represent important pieces that make up a total, and all bands are formed or joined with a clear vision. Today Paal's portfolio includes Atomic, School Days, The Thing, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Sten Sandell Trio, Scorch Trio, Territory Band, FME, and various duo projects such as with reedmen Ken Vandermark, John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson, organist Nils Henrik Asheim and noise wizard Lasse Marhaug. And not to forget the recently joined Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet."-Paal Nilssen-Love Website (http://www.paalnilssen-love.com/biography.php)
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