|The role of the guitar in jazz has not mirrored its role in other modern musics. Few have risen to prominence on the instrument – but of those who have, one of the most notable is James “Blood” Ulmer. From his first days as Ornette Coleman’s Harmolodic guitarist in Prime Time, Ulmer’s path to guitar innovator was a rather fast one. In the ten-year period between 1973 (when he began his formal relationship with Harmolodics and Ornette Coleman) and 1983 (when he recorded Odyssey, one of the epochal albums of the ‘80s ) it can be argued that Ulmer’s evolution on the guitar was the logical outgrowth of Hendrix, and just as significant. The band on the album, including Charles Burnham and Warren Benbrow, have since become known as Odyssey and are recognized today as the quintessential Ulmer band. A return to the studio after a seven-year hiatus is a cause for celebration and a call to those who may have forgotten to take notice. A return as musically engaging and powerful as this one is a reminder of how startlingly original, innovative and downright forceful James “Blood” Ulmer is as an artist. Back In Time moves through the blues, African grooves and classic Odyssey Band tunes. The mood of the album can be hopeful, funky with a bit of country, dreamy to dark, or just insistent and driving. Interspersed with vocals from Ulmer, the CD marks the celebrated return of one of music’s most beloved trios.
The band’s first new recording in seven years! James “Blood” Ulmer’s Odyssey recording for Columbia is an acknowledged classic. Ulmer’s recent blues recordings for Hyena have received rave reviews and helped to introduce him to a new audience. Vernon Reid’s production of Ulmer’s last three albums has reinforced the artist’s status as a guitar icon.
“They peel back the onion even further, showing a buzzy, bustling, endlessly interesting globe of interlocking and intercrossing sound at the music’s core.” – LA Weekly
“Here, it’s clear that Ulmer was born to play with fire...” – Time Out Chicago
“Odyssey stands as James ‘Blood’ Ulmer’s signature masterpiece: the purest and most accessible showcase for his bold, genreclashing guitar vision.” – All Music Guide