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TRIBE

Phil Ranelin was a session trombonist recording with the likes of Steve Wonder before setting up the Tribe label with Wendell Harrison in Detroit.

Like other contemporary artist run labels like Strata East and Black Jazz, Tribe releases were characterised by a heady mix of post Coltrane free jazz, soul and funk, all informed by a strong political conscience.

Vibes From the Tribe is a fine record. The title track is lusciously, greasily funky and stands in pretty stark contrast to the kind of airbrushed fusion that was in vogue at the time. "Sounds from the Village" is even better (and dirtier), showcasing Ranelin's oily trombone gymnastics and a viciously fuzzed guitar solo. "Wife" features Phil's singing and is oddly reminiscent of Frank Zappa's writing on Sleep Dirt; an affecting, snaking melody topped off with a beautiful solo from the leader, whose playing here has the grace of Bob Brookmeyer coupled with the agility of George Lewis.

"He The One We All Knew" is the obligatory Coltrane tribute and is a trip into the kind of groove based free playing typical of Pharoah Sanders, though only really picks up when the band launch into post bop swing mode in the last six minutes or so, provoking another fine Ranelin solo. Bassist Ralph Armstrong is particularly strong here; his brief solo passages are a wonder of agility and tough lyricism that make me wonder why he's not better known. Other highlights come from the mellifluous flute of Wendell Harrison. Beautiful stuff, and it's good to know that Ranelin is still at work even now. Essential. by Peter Marsh 2002

Doug Hammond & David Durrah

Reflections In The Sea Of Nurnen

An incredible session from the legendary Tribe Records scene — an equal effort from leader Doug Hammond and keyboardist David Durrah, who contributes some ground-breaking Fender Rhodes and moog work to the set! Hammond handles drums plus a bit of vocals and synthesizer on the session — working alongside Durrah in a groove that mixes electric and acoustic instrumentation into a totally righteous sound with lots of heavy Afro Jazz leanings. A number of tracks feature great vocals from Hammond — righteous, and with a beautifully soulful message-oriented approach — and a few other tracks, such as the classic “Space I” and “Space II”, feature a sparer all-electric sound. The whole thing’s wonderful — skittishly rhythmic, warmly flowing, and righteously beautiful. Titles include “Sea Of Nurnen”, “Fidalgo Detour”, “Reflections”, “Space II”, and “For Real”.
(Dusty Groove, Inc.)


Wendell Harrison & Phillip Ranelin

A Message From The Tribe

Genius work from the Detroit underground of the 70s – one of the greatest records ever on the now-famous Tribe Records label, and a masterpiece of soul, jazz, and righteous spirit! The session's headed by tenor player Wendell Harrison – and it's got an all-star Motor City lineup that includes Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Phil Ranelin on trombone, Jeamel Lee on vocals, Charles Eubanks on electric piano, and Charles Moore on flugel horn. The tracks have a spacious spiritual approach that recalls some of the later Archie Shepp on Impulse – a blend of soul jazz with slight touches of electric instrumentation, some vocals, and a very progressive spirit overall – stepping proud in the new freedoms of the 70s, yet still swinging and very groovy. (Dusty Groove, Inc.)




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