Some jazz albums are recorded. Others are assembled. Can You See What I’m Trying to Say, the sophomore Vibration Black Finger release from London vet Lascelle Lascelles Gordon, deftly and creatively merges both approaches. Combining traditional tracks fashioned from solidly groovy live performances and vocals with soundscapes and vignettes put together from samples and tapes of varying vintage and source, this album manages to keep one foot in past tradition and the other in contemporary experimentation in a manner vaguely reminiscent of mid-’70s Miles Davis. It’s an eye-opener to be sure.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Lascelle Lascelles Gordon — the driving force behind Vibration Black Finger — astonishes us yet again with a magnificent second album. Once more his inspiration is drawn from the obscure spiritual jazz collectives of the 1970s where he employs a vast array of like-minded collaborators to create a listening experience infused with an ever-present undercurrent of personal expression and cultural empowerment that’s as enriched with ideas as it is progressive in its form. Having earned his chops as founding member of the Brand New Heavies, Campag Velocet and Heliocentric World, Lascelle’s latest album Can You See What I’m Trying to Say bursts with energy and vivid contrasts, flowing effortlessly between beat-laden grooves, oscillating improvisations, soulful recitations, audio verité and moody atmospherics. The album drops like a post-hip-hop reimagining of foundational genres, with a prayer to the future. “Can You See What I’m Trying to Say is a quote from Marion Brown, the great alto saxophonist,” explains Gordon. “The album was put together over the last three years, not in the conventional way of going into the recording studio with musicians, but starting from ideas I had on various formats (cassettes, mini disc, DATs & reel to reel). I also used field recordings. I did a lot of home recording with long time musical friends Ben Cowen & Diana Gutkind, some of them going back 20 years. The voices of my nieces (heard on Law of the Universe) were recorded 25 years ago.”