Our highlights Wednesday include The Afghan Whigs, Marian Hill, Helen Gillet with Nikki Glaspie, and James "Blood" Ulmer.

james blood ulmer photo
James "Blood" Ulmer, by Julia Wesely

Wednesday night’s highlights in New Orleans include guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer at Three Keys in the Ace Hotel. Ulmer’s guitar can go a lot of directions. He adopted Ornette Coleman’s theory of harmolodics to straddle the blues/jazz/rock divides, and different projects slant the components a little more one way or another. His most recent album, Baby Talk, is improvised jazz recorded with the Scandanavian trio The Thing, but in 2007 he recorded the most traditional blues album of his career in New Orleans when he made Bad Blood in the City: The Piety Street Sessions. Seeing Ulmer in an intimate venue like Three Keys should be special because his sound is fundamentally intimate. 

At the other end of the intimacy scale is The Afghan Whigs, who have made a career of taking intimate moments and blowing up them and the corresponding emotions to cinematic scales. And, over the years they’ve become very good at it. 

Also on Wednesday night, I'm going to be part of a panel discussion with WWNO's Gwen Thompkins and Dr. Michael White at 6:30 p.m. at New Orleans Museum of Art. "All That Jazz" will be a conversation on the relationships between Jazz Fest, culture, and New Orleans musicians. It's connected to the opening of the excellent show of photographs, "Lee Friedlander in New Orleans," that I'll review next week.

The Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill at The Civic Theatre (8 p.m.)

James “Blood” Ulmer at Three Keys (9 p.m.)

Marian Hill at Republic (9 p.m.)

Helen Gillet + 1 feat. Tephra Sound Duo with Nikki Glaspie at Three Keys (12 a.m.)