Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Mark Stryker

The Enduring Power of the Detroit Jazz Collective Tribe

8 posts in this topic

This is a good piece -- and I would say that even if I wasn't quoted prominently and my new book, "Jazz from Detroit," wasn't given a nice shout-out. Gio captured the DYI aesthetic of Detroit jazz & the ongoing legacy of Tribe & its founders, Wendell Harrison & Phi Ranelin. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/26/arts/music/detroit-jazz-collective-tribe.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Mark Stryker said:

This is a good piece -- and I would say that even if I wasn't quoted prominently and my new book, "Jazz from Detroit," wasn't given a nice shout-out. Gio captured the DYI aesthetic of Detroit jazz & the ongoing legacy of Tribe & its founders, Wendell Harrison & Phi Ranelin. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/26/arts/music/detroit-jazz-collective-tribe.html

Great article, thanks for linking. Fantastic to see Tribe getting that kind of high-profile mainstream media attention (and your book as well). I picked up an earlier CD edition of that Message From The Tribe anthology about 15 years ago and would still recommend it as a great introduction to the whole scene (the booklet is an invaluable document, and the individual music tracks will inevitably set you off in search of the original albums from which they came). Also glad to see Phil’s Indianapolis roots mentioned. I don’t think it was mentioned in the article, but his recent Collected Works 2003-2019 is well worth picking up too.

Edited by ghost of miles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there's a good radio program to be made focusing on all the music made by the various self-determination groups of the 60s and 70s. AACM, BAG, Tribe, UGMA(A), Strata, Strata-East, who else? In real time, the records were not usually in general distribution channels, but in retrospect, they represented a cause bigger than the simple motivations of wholesale/retail. They were looking to control capital - financial, intellectual, and directional. They recognized that true self-determination means having the ability not just to create, but to also control what happens post-creation. In that sense, perhaps relevant now more than ever.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, JSngry said:

...the various self-determination groups of the 60s and 70s. AACM, BAG, Tribe, UGMA(A), Strata, Strata-East, who else?

I’ll echo Jim’s “who else?” inquiry.

I suspect an entire book-length subject on this sort of exploration might be welcome too!  (as well as radio.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually...Stan Kenton. Coming from a totally different place, obviously, but his early (1959 was the beginning, iirc) efforts in colonizing the colleges were quite impactful to the sustaining of a certain type of big band well into the 80s and 90s. But perhaps less obviously today, his Creative World enterprise (formed in 1970) handled not just bookings, but also was able to produce and distribute new recordings and take control of the old ones. and not just that, that organization offered for sale the Kenton library from ever era, scores, parts, everything. It was all about self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

I'm happy to add this because the general default of this notion of breaking away from the established economic structures is to look at African-American artists, probably because of the obvious socio-political implications therein. But - somebody like Stan Kenton can be used to show that even without those realities there was (and still is) ample incentive to do it yourself, if it was important to you to so do.

Today, that seems to be the norm with creative musicians. We can debate how well they've handled their business (as well as the barriers that still exist for trying to break away from established economic structures), but the notion remains and grows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I think there's a good radio program to be made focusing on all the music made by the various self-determination groups of the 60s and 70s. AACM, BAG, Tribe, UGMA(A), Strata, Strata-East, who else? In real time, the records were not usually in general distribution channels, but in retrospect, they represented a cause bigger than the simple motivations of wholesale/retail. They were looking to control capital - financial, intellectual, and directional. They recognized that true self-determination means having the ability not just to create, but to also control what happens post-creation. In that sense, perhaps relevant now more than ever.

 

Absolutely!  I've had both Tribe and Strata/Strata-East on the drawing board for years... Tribe does make an appearance in the second episode of the two-part Night Lights show about Detroit that I did with Mark (and which I need to post asap--only Part 1 is available online right now).  I know we've discussed George Lewis' A Power Stronger Than Itself about the AACM, but there's also a book about BAG that I have but haven't gotten around to reading yet:  Point From Which Creation Begins (and I think we may have talked about this book as well here on the board).  And you're bang-on with "perhaps relevant now more than ever"... somewhat the same reason I've long wanted to do a two-part Night Lights show about 20th century DIY jazz labels (also discussed here, quite recently!).  

Sun Ra and Saturn Records also fits into this discussion, methinks.

Edited by ghost of miles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ra wasn't just about self-sufficiency, he was about self-invention and reinvention!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ghost of miles said:

but his recent Collected Works 2003-2019 is well worth picking up too.

Couldn't agree more. I took a punt on it as my intro to him and it's that and more I'd say. Great release.

I have that 'Message from the Tribe' compilation too. It needs to come out again.

Over here, Pure Pleasure have been reissuing some Tribe affiliated LPs recently with the cooperation of Harrison, Ranelin and others which points to the continued currency of the music to today's audience, I'd suggest.

Edited by mjazzg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.