Friday, May 31, 2013

Vibes From The Tribe

During the seventies, many jazz artists in major cities like Detroit, Chicago and New York began to form artist collectives as a result of being frustrated with the major label recording industry. Similar to labor unions, these collectives served as a support system for many upcoming artists looking for recording dates and steady gigs, while in-turn receiving fair financial compensation. The primary goal of a unified collective was self-reliance and control of the music, allowing musicians to have the freedom to be more experimental and creative without the outside influence of a major label record executive "watering down" their art. These collectives also spent a lot of time in their communities, often helping educate younger African-Americans about music, black history and social awareness. Each collective group functioned in their own unique way with some lasting longer and being more effective than others.

One of the most notable jazz collectives of the seventies came out of Detroit and was known as Tribe. This collective, which released all their material under the label name Tribe Records, was a political and social conscious driven group featuring a number of incredible musicians that included Wendell Harrison, Phil Ranelin, Marcus Belgrave, Harold McKinney, Doug Hammond and countless others. Tribe only lasted for about five years, but during that time the members of the collective released many great releases that explored the outer reaches of hard bop, soul, funk, spiritualism and the avant-garde. Even though many of the releases that came out during the collective's existence, which was approximately 1972-1977, didn't initially receive the national attention they deserved, these recordings are now beginning to be recognized all around the globe for their groundbreaking exploration of jazz.

Here is one of my favorite selections title "Glue Fingers (Part 2)" from Marcus Belgrave's album Gemini II, released by Tribe Records in 1974. This funky soul jazz gem is a great example of how many members of the Tribe often incorporated jazz and other influences into their music. Enjoy!

Marcus Belgrave - Glue Fingers (Part 2)

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