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Almost thirty years ago American guitarist James ‘Blood’ Ulmer coined the motto: Jazz is the Teacher, Funk in the Preacher (sung in his album «Are You Glad To Be In America?», Rough Trade, 1980). This motto inspired German, New York-based Welf Dorr to found in 2012 his own power group, the Welf Dorr Unit that would offer a like-minded urgent mix of funky-jazz with rock. The debut album of the Unit pays respect to Ulmer and is titled «Blood», recorded on June 2014, mastered two years later and released in its digital version by the newly founded New York label Chant Records and in its physical version by the Portuguese label Creative sources.
The Welf Dorr Unit features Dorr, who also plays in pianist Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra and in drummer Kenny Wollesen’s Himalayas, on alto sax and bass clarinet, guitarist Dave Ross, bass player Dmitry Ishenko and drummer Joe Hertenstein. This Unit translates Ulmer experimental sonic vision of the early eighties through a tough, loud and muscular interplay, but without any attempt to attach any political implications to its work as Ulmer did.

Dorr is the obvious leader and has a warm, soulful tone, but choosing to follow Ulmer path obviously trigger unfavorable comparisons to the charismatic sax players David Murray and Oliver Lake who have played on Ulmer’s seminal album. The Unit finds its true calling when it dives deep into a heavy funky groove on the title-piece, «Two Down (One to Go)» or the ballad «Left Alone», leaving more space for the distinct voices of this quartet, especially the thorny, rhythmic work Ross and the massive drumming of Hertenstein.

Eyal Hareuveni

Welf Dorr (as, bcl), Dave Ross (g), Dmitry Ishenko (b), Joe Hertenstein (dr)

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