Phil Ranelin

Genres: Jazz
Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


1940, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Raised in the often overlooked yet intense musical environment of Indianapolis, Ranelin began playing trombone and met Freddie Hubbard when the pair played in a band that drew its personnel from city-wide grade schools. He moved to New York and then Detroit, where he worked as a session musician for Motown Records before forming the Tribe with saxophonist Wendell Harrison. Detroit’s equivalent of Chicago’s AACM, the Tribe was a record label and social co-operative as well as a group of musicians. Their recordings, which mixed free jazz with funk soul, funk and African rhythms, served as an innovative soundtrack to the city’s Black Arts movement.

In the late 70s and early 80s Ranelin played on several of Hubbard’s albums, including Mistral. Among other artists with whom Ranelin has worked are Solomon Burke, Norman Connors, Ella Fitzgerald, Al ‘Tootie’ Heath, Billy Higgins, Freddie...

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by Phil Ranelin