Ottawa’s Souljazz Orchestra has been creating and perform- ing their unique blend of soul- jazz, afrobeat and diverse Afri- can rhythms since 2003. They have toured Europe several times and are highly acclaimed across the Atlantic. However, they are mostly an unknown commodity in Canada, outside of Ontario and Quebec. One can only hope an album such as Solidarity will change this and that the group will finally be recognized as one of the finest bands in this country.
Solidarity is by far the most diverse, upbeat, percussive and energetic of the band’s five releases to date. Led by their ferocious horn section and stellar guest vocalists from all over the world (Slim Moore, Elage M’baye, Rômmel Ribeiro), The Souljazz Orches- tra clearly created the album with the dance floor in mind. In that sense, Solidarity is very different from the acoustic, more subdued and primarily instrumental soul-jazz of 2010’s Rising Sun. Added to the mix this time are Latin and salsa rhythms, such as in the songs “Cartao Postale” and “Ya Basta,” as well as touches of reggae in “Jericho” and “Kingpin.”
Recorded on vintage 8-track analog gear, Solidarity is a gritty, funky and often politically charged musical ex- pedition showcasing a band at the top of their game, unafraid to explore and expand their sound.
– Nathan Ambrose