Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
Singer Dwight Trible’s rich, theatrical baritone is well known to Kamasi Washington fans; he appears on 2015’s The Epic and its 2019 sequel Heaven and Earth. Trible has been a fixture on the L.A. jazz scene for decades, working with the late pianist Horace Tapscott’s Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra and running the Los Angeles performance space World Stage, where Washington and the members of the West Coast Get Down got their start. He’s recorded extensively both under his own name and with the group Build An Ark, blending spiritual jazz, blues, funk, and soul.
Cosmic Vibrations is Trible’s new band, and while their debut album Pathways and Passages features his vocals, it’s equally focused on dense, meditative grooves and intricately layered percussion. The lineup includes reed and woodwind player Pablo Calogero; upright bassist John B. Williams; Derf Reklaw on congas, percussion, and flute; Breeze Smith on drums, percussion, and loops; and Christopher Garcia on indigenous percussion.
The group’s sound is significantly darker and more brooding than most “spiritual jazz.” Their version of “Motherless Child,” made famous by folk singer Richie Havens, is a wail of anguish. Trible’s not always even singing lyrics; on the opening “Nature’s Vision” and especially “OLBAP,” he’s spitting out streams of wordless syllables, shadowed by overdubbed voices, as percussion and kalimba rumble and rattle all around him and the saxophone cries out from the darkness. This is not blissful music; this is a fierce, dense album, a ritual designed to purge darkness from the world.