Friday 10 July 2020

'Can You See What I'm Trying to Say' by Vibration Black Finger

'Can You See What I'm Trying to Say' is the brand new album from Vibration Black Finger released through Jazzman Records.

And Jazzman themselves are a great place to start with this review as this project serves as an awesome inclusion amongst an incredible 2020 line-up that boasts projects from saxophonist Muriel Grossman ('Elevation') and the Sokratis Votskos Quartet ('Sketching the Unknown').  'Can You See What I'm Trying to Say' marks the collective's sophomore album release and their first with the label whose manifesto is to scour the world to discover "good and obscure soul, jazz and funk records".

Following on from 'Blackism' (released through Gordon's own Enid Records, 2017), Vibration Black Finger founder - drummer, percussionist and producer Lascelle Gordon - has made this project the jewel in the crown of an already extensive career.  A member of the Brand New Heavies for five years at the group's inception, a renowned DJ and radio host, and at one time or another a member of groups including Heliocentric World, Campag Velocet, Le Volume Courbe and Woven Entity.

In a comparatively short amount of time, Vibration Black Finger have really provided a high level of stunning music that is a wonderful recapturing of the spiritual jazz of the 1970s.  From the self-titled debut EP, and precursor to 'Blackism' back in 2016, two further EPs followed with 'GUADI' (2017) and 'Sweet Nothing' (2018) all serving as compulsory releases within the pantheon of Vibration Black Finger's unfolding message.

'Can You See What I'm Trying to Say' is a key project within Gordon's story.  Bold, ethereal and, at times, trippy - the sheer scope and ambition of the album succeeds as a revelation by itself with perhaps the best examples of its sonic bliss represented by the ten plus minutes of 'Acting For Liberation, pt.1' and the album closer 'Only In A Dream' featuring a wonderful vocal by Maggie Nicols.  Frequent VBF vocalist, Ebony Rose, also excels on 'Empty Streets' and 'The Glory' along with an extensive array of featured musicians revolving around a core of Diana Gutkind on piano, Ben Cowen on keyboards and bassists Ken Kambayashi and Colin Somervell.

The album serves as a thrilling introduction to the world of Gordon's Vibration Black Finger and an effective springboard to go back and explore their aforementioned projects as well.  While you're shopping, spend some time on Jazzman Records' Bandcamp page as there are some real treasures released this year.

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