Tales of Captain Black

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Tales of Captain Black
Tales of Captain Black.jpg
Studio album by James Blood Ulmer
Released 1979
Recorded December 5, 1978
Genre Jazz
Length 33:32
Label Artists House
Producer John Snyder & Ornette Coleman
James Blood Ulmer chronology
Tales of Captain Black
Are You Glad to Be in America?
DIW Records Cover

Tales of Captain Black is an album by American guitarist James Blood Ulmer (credited simply as "James Blood" on the cover) featuring Ornette Coleman, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and Denardo Coleman recorded in 1978 and originally released on the Artists House label.[1] The album was remastered and rereleased on CD with a new mix by Joe Ferla approved and co-produced by Ulmer on the Japanese DIW label in 1996.[2]


The Allmusic review by Thom Jurek awarded the album 5 stars and states "Safe to say, there are no weak tracks on Tales From Captain Black, and even the redo of "Revealing" from Ulmer's previous album show an unbridled excitement and an extrapolation of that tune's rhythmic and harmonic elements into something more sinister, more driven, more angular, more mercurial. Captain Black marks the real beginning of Ulmer's career as a leader. It has been a bumpy, restless ride since that time with many creative and professional ups and downs, but it hardly matters. Records like this one make him the most visionary and brilliant electric guitarist in a generation".[3]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Christgau's Record Guide A–[4]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 3/5 stars[5]

Trouser Press wrote, "Ulmer's debut finds him heavily indebted to the saxophonist. Tales of Captain Black offers Ulmer's trademark knotted, choked phrasing as a rough-hewn foil to Coleman's pure, free melodocism, but he hasn't fully discovered his own voice yet."[6]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by James Blood Ulmer
  1. "Theme from Captain Black" - 3:14
  2. "Moons Shine" - 3:52
  3. "Morning Bride" - 4:57
  4. "Revelation March" - 4:32
  5. "Woman Coming" - 3:38
  6. "Nothing to Say" - 4:13
  7. "Arena" - 4:24
  8. "Revealing" - 4:42
Recorded at R.P.M. Sound Studios, Inc., New York City, December 5, 1978.



  1. ^ James Blood Ulmer discography accessed July 9, 2010
  2. ^ DIW release of Tales of Captain Black at Discogs Cf. cover images. Retrieved December 31, 2014
  3. ^ a b Jurek, T. Allmusic Review accessed July 9, 2010
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "James Blood: Tales of Captain Black". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the '70s. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306804093. Retrieved December 22, 2016. 
  5. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 197. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  6. ^ Margasak, Peter; Graham Flashner (2007). "James Blood Ulmer". Trouser Press. Trouser Press LLC. Retrieved July 28, 2010.