Canada’s hardest working super-group, The Souljazz Orchestra, return at full throttle this September with ‘Solidarity’, a new collaborative album featuring a range of unique artists from their country’s vibrant underground groove scene. Rooted in rhythmically rich musical traditions of the past, the collective have kept their eyes on the future, pushing the boundaries of soul, jazz and tropical styles with a set of heavyweight new songs, unified by a powerful message of positive social change.
After the success of their last record, the all-acoustic, instrumental outing, ‘Rising Sun’, the Orchestra returns to electric, vocal-driven compositions on ‘Solidarity’, inviting in a selection of singers with whom they have collaborated at different times over the last decade. The album’s cast includes singer, percussionist and songwriter El Hadji “Ã‰lage” M’baye, songwriter and guitarist RÃ´mmel Texeira Ribeiro, vocalist and songwriter Slim Moore, brilliant jazz trumpeter Nicholas Dyson, versatile singer Amelia Leclair on backing vocals; and the full Souljazz Orchestra core complete the line-up, with vocal contributions by drummer / conguero Philippe LafreniÃ¨re and baritone saxophonist Ray Murray.
The compositions that arose from the sessions are in a variety of Afro, Latin and Caribbean styles, all connected by a consistent thread of North American soul and jazz sensibilities, featuring lyrics sung in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Wolof. The plugged-in direction of the new album also provided the band with an excuse to dig out some of their dusty, forgotten electric instruments from the attic: an ancient transistor organ, pawn shop hollow-body electric guitars, & even an old Italian-made Elka electric piano rescued from a garbage can. The album was recorded onto a temperamental Tascam 8-track tape machine inherited from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at a surplus sale. The resultant sound is gritty, low-budget and analogue and the musicianship is, as always, vice-tight.
Now celebrating their 10th year, The Souljazz Orchestra continue their unrivalled run of fine albums with their newest addition, “International Soundclash”.