Archive for Warren Benbow

James Blood Ulmer in Zürich, 2013

Posted in Blues, clips, James Blood Ulmer, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2013 by crownpropeller

During all of the 1980s, one of my favorite musicians was guitarist James Blood Ulmer. At that time he was playing with his band Phalanx (with tenor saxophonist George Adams) as well as with his “Odyssey” Band, featuring violinist Charles Burnham and drummer Warren Benbow. I managed to see Phalanx live several times then, but I never got to see the Odyssey band.

I lost my interest in Ulmer a little after his 1990 release “Blues All Night” which in my ears was totally overproduced and sounded much too clean. Although I bought the Music Revelation Ensemble’s 1994 CD “In The Name Of” when it appeared (a great album by the way), I never came to see Ulmer live again since 1989 or so. So it really was a nice surprise when I opened up the morning paper last wednesday and noticed that James Blood Ulmer’s “Black Rock Experience” was to play at the Moods Jazz Club in my town that night. The band as announced was to be Ulmer with bassist Mark Peterson and drummer Grant Calvin Weston and singer Queen Esther. I somehow had the feeling that the music might be in the vein of the “Blues All Night”, which I relistened just before going to the gig only to find out that I still do not like it too much.

Much too my surprise the personnel for this evening turned out to be Ulmer with the old Odyssey band: Charles Burnham and Warren Benbow. And featuring Queen Esther. And it turned out to be a great evening of deep Blues from earthy to abstract, splashed with dots of free funk, and salted with harmolodic spices.

I made some nice photos during the concert, which was started off by Ulmer doing a slow and melancholy – nearly painful – solo rendition of the U.S. National Anthem.

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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

After that he brought the band on:
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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer and Warren Benbow at “Moods”,
Zurich, January 23, 2013. © Armin Büttner

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(click to enlarge) Charles Burnham at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

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(click to enlarge) Queen Esther at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

I had a tele lens on my camera, that is why you never get to see the whole band at once.

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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer and Warren Benbow at “Moods”,
Zurich, January 23, 2013. © Armin Büttner

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(click to enlarge) Charles Burnham at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

I would have loved to hear more of Queen Esther who really has a great voice. One of the evening’s highlights was her acapella rendition of “We’ll be Together Again”.

queen_esther_2

(click to enlarge) Queen Esther at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

While drummer Warren Benbow had an indifferent look on his face during the whole evening and never even had a faint smile on his face (absolutely no indifference in his playing though), violinist Charles Burnham got really involved:

burnham_3
(click to enlarge) Charles Burnham at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

Although I originally did not plan to – else i would have taken a small tripod – I filmed parts of the concert. I had a very unconvenient standing position so you might get seasick when watching the three tracks I have edited down from the footage. I would say that the nauseating shakiness takes any commercial potential out of this clip, but if someone with the right to object objects against this video being on youtube, I’ll be taking it down in a hurry.

I managed to come a little closer and take some nice shots of Ulmer after the concert when he was selling and signing CDs from the stage.

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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

ulmer_large

(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

Enjoy!

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