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James Blood Ulmer: Family Affair


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Nobody does blues, funk or jazz quite like singer/guitarist James Blood Ulmer. "Family Affair," from Black Rock (Columbia, 1982), is a slow-grooving, soulful delight. Vocalist Irene Datcher's honeyed tones combine with Ulmer's gravelly blues to wonderful effect, while the guitarist's inimitable knotty playing growls and sparks over Amin Ali's churning bass ostinato and drummer Calvin Weston's back beat. Of course, it would not be Ulmer without explosive release, but on an album of searing jazz-funk, angular and punkish, with splashes of Jimi Hendrix-esque psychedelia, "Family Affair" stands out for the sensuous beauty of its melodies.

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