James Blood Ulmer, the Grammy Award-nominated blues legend, has returned to the Piety Street Studios in New Orleans to record a new album for HYENA Records. The album, which does not yet have a title, will focus on a series of songs Ulmer wrote about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This album will reunite Ulmer with producer Vernon Reid, marking the duo’s fourth collaboration. Also in the studio are Ulmer’s “Memphis Blood Blues” band mates, featuring Reid on guitar, Charlie Burnham on fiddle, Leon Greenbaum on keyboard, David Barnes on harmonica, Mark Peterson on bass and Aubrey Dayle on drums. The album is tentatively scheduled for release in May, with a tour to follow.
Born and raised in rural South Carolina, Ulmer’s music is known for combining elements of blues, jazz and gospel. The 64-year-old has performed with a vast range of musical legends from Arthur Blythe and Ornette Coleman-whose harmolodic theory plays a significant role in Ulmer’s music-to Government Mule and Susan Tedeschi. Recently, he was seen in Antoine Fuqua’s documentary, Lightning in a Bottle, which was presented by Martin Scorsese. In 2006, Ulmer was awarded France’s prestigious “Jazzman of the Year” award.