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Phil Ranelin

Vibes From The Tribe

Groove Diggers


LP Black $40
  • Limited First Edition Pressing
  • Obi-strip
  • Modern remastering
  • Final album from The Tribe


The final release from Tribe! Released in 1976, shortly before Phil Ranelin’s departure to Los Angeles, Vibes from The Tribe is a spiritual jazz / rare groove classic!

By 1976, Tribe had grown to be something much different than what it had started out as. A popular magazine and releases from a cadre of the most promising musicians Detroit had to offer had allowed the collective the space and finances needed to develop, and by the time of their final release, they had changed both in shape and scope. Yet their philosophy of “getting out the message” remained the same.

Since the early days of the Tribe, the influence of funk and popular music had been more evident in Ranelin’s music than that of his partner, Wendell Harrison. Even on Message From The Tribe’s first edition, Ranelin’s love for funk was clear, with songs such as “What We Need” featuring a mellow groove and horn lines that would sound at home on any Motown record. Phil Ranelin’s second album as a leader, Vibes From The Tribe sees those funk influences on full display. Opening track “Vibes From The Tribe (Prelude)” has the kind of steady snare beat that hip-hop producers would later kill for, and a bassline so groovy that you won’t be able to stop yourself from nodding along.

For The Children is breezy bossa nova of the finest degree. Ranelin’s voice is subdued and relaxed, probably taking more notes from Joao Gilberto than any of the poetry readings on Message From The Tribe. But when he begins his trombone solo, the edges of his more avant-garde past start to peek through. Lines that would sound right at home on any post-bop album are a-plenty, and as a sunny riff closes out the album, it seems like the perfect soundtrack for a warm summer night.

But the heart of the album lies in the closing track “He The One We All Knew (Parts 1 & 2)”. Here, Ranelin’s smorgasbord of influences seem to come together, creating an 18 minute long track that combines elements of Indian classical music, free jazz, funk, and more. The track begins with the gentle psychedelic sitar playing of Daud Abdul Kahafiz, creating a drone over which layers of percussion, piano, bass, and horns combine. Frequent collaborator and Tribe co-founder Wendell Harrison’s solo comes first, with the sparse arrangement giving him space to stretch out beyond the limits of conventional harmony or rhythm. It’s clear that these musicians were improvising in the truest sense of the word, and as they go from playing over ambient sitar, to what can only be described as “swing”, they never lose count or break rank. You can practically picture each of the musicians in the studio, deeply concentrated but supremely in tune with one another, communicating with nods and eye movement. Vibes From The Tribe takes everything that made the Tribe great: free jazz, funk, pop influences, and a tight-knit community and preserves it as one of the greatest spiritual jazz albums of all time.

With modern remastering and an obi-strip, this album has never looked or sounded this good! Make sure to get your copy while stock lasts!

Preview Tracklist

  • 1 Vibes From The Tribe (Prelude)
  • 2 Sounds From The Village
  • 3 Wife
  • 4 For The Children
  • 5 Vibes From The Tribe (Encore)
  • 6 He The One We All Knew (Parts 1 & 2)