September 19, 2012

The Souljazz Orchestra | Solidarity

ARTIST:  The Souljazz Orchestra
TITLE:  Solidarity
LABEL:  Strut
Now in their tenth year together, Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra's fifth full-length cements them as one of the finest Afro-Latin-Caribbean ensembles anywhere in the world. 
Their Rising Sun album was one of my favorites of 2010 – believe it or not, this one is even better.  Souljazz’s earliest recordings emphasized their take on Afrobeat; since then, the band’s musical horizons have continuously expanded.  On this album, not only do you get Afrobeat (tracks 1 and 6) – there’s roots reggae (5, 8), a Latin salsa-funk hybrid in the manner of Grupo Fantasma (4), a swinging Carlinhos Brown-influenced Brazilian track (3), a fabulous Budos Band soundalike (7) and even some French Caribbean biguine (9).  Capping it all off are two covers of Senegal’s remarkable Orchestra Baobab: their salsa Senegalaise classic “Nijaay” (10) and “Keten Ati Leen” (2), a unique Baobab take on Afro-funk that’s one of the most remarkable songs in that legendary band’s catalog.  The vintage instruments and low-fi, pleasantly overdriven recording are an homage to the 1970’s, but make no mistake – this band is anchored in the present and is making some of 2012’s very finest music. 
TOP TRACKS:    2    4    5    6    7
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    1    3    8    9    10

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