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Tribe Tribe

  • Words: Walter Wasacz
  • Label: Community Projects-Planet E
  • XLR8R Rating: 8/10

Not a Carl Craig record, though it has the stamp of the famed Detroit techno producer throughout, the Tribe’s new full-length is a near-perfect record for the times. By standing behind the politics of love in an age of global dread, that jazz remains an on-message American art form. The mood set here is solemn; the spacey abstract expressionism of the original group’s pioneering early 1970s material is largely absent, their sound re-shaped into a neo-traditional funk-jazz package. Yet surviving members Phil Ranelin, Wendell Harrison, Marcus Belgrave, and Doug Hammond sure can swing, especially on standout track “Livin’ in a New Day.” It’s layered with trombones, trumpets, saxophones, and Ranelin’s vocals, all deftly electronically treated by Craig in his Motor City studio.

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