Phil Ranelin - Time Is Now! | RECORD STORE DAY

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After Motown left Detroit for Los Angeles in 1972, trombonist Phil Ranelin was largely left without work or direction, until he co-founded Tribe with Wendell Harrison later that same year. Two years after forming Tribe, Phil Ranelin would release his first album as a solo leader, The Time Is Now! The record contains all of the hallmarks of the best Tribe recordings: spiritual-leaning improvisations, soulful grooves, and appearances from Tribe regulars: Wendell Harrison, Marcus Belgrave, Reggie Fields, and more! The album opens with a 13 minute improvisation titled "The Time Is Now For Change". As Ranelin, Belgrave, and Harrison exchange flurries of notes and squeaks over improvised chaos from the rhythm section, the group builds to a spiritual high that calls to mind the best Albert Ayler recordings. Bebop lines and unison phrases occasionally rise to the surface, offering a glimmer of familiarity in what is largely a harsh soundscape. Yet what sets Ranelin (and indeed, all of his Tribe contemporaries) apart from the larger free and spiritual jazz scene at the time is their sense of rhythm. Even as Harrison evokes sounds that would make a Meditations era Coltrane blush, the drums stay in time, and the looping bass and piano riffs take on an almost hypnotic quality, repeating quietly under a whirlwind of sound. Later tracks see the ensemble veer into soul jazz, and jazz-funk, with "Black Destiny" perfectly highlighting the group's ability to meld the avant-garde with grooves that you won't be able to stop yourself from tapping your foot to. Members of the Tribe were well known for their appreciation of African American popular music, and the influence of groups such as Sly And The Family Stone is clear in the song's edgy rhythms and dense sound. This double LP reissue also contains alternate versions and outtakes that are so good you'll be wondering why they were originally left out! With modern remastering, three bonus tracks, and an obi-strip, you don't want to miss the definitive version of Phil Ranelin's The Time Is Now!