The Souljazz Orchestra - Inner Fire (CD/LP, Strut Records, 2014)
Our friendly Canadian afrogroovists The Souljazz Orchestra are back with a new album to be released on Strut Records late february! The record is called 'Inner Fire' and after hearing some inspiring works in progress last summer, while working with one of their horn players Zakari Frantz on Paris DJs' 4th afro/tropical compilation, we had the chance to listen to the finished piece in its entirety… And the verdict is quite an easy one: keep on buying the band's albums because they keep on improving each time, or at least do they try some new surprising directions that will put a smile of instant approval on your face!
The Souljazz Orchestra come from Funk, Jazz and Soul, as the 'Uprooted' album from 2005 suggest. They quickly became one of the hottest Afrofunk/Afrobeat bands on the planet with the 'Freedom No Go Die' and 'Manifesto' albums from 2007/2008, and started opening new musical doors in 2010 with the acoustic afrojazz of 'Rising Sun', before opting for a raw, greasy, vintage 1950s sound on 'Solidarity', while adding touches of latin, West indies funk, samba and reggae to their usual afrobeat and spiritual jazz musical landscapes.
This new full length follows that logic of going forward in new directions, with some big band or gospel arrangements and Eastern Jazz influences! They've now reach a point were their music can't be classified anymore. Blending afrobeat, Cuban or Egyptian jazz, bossa, highlife, bolero, soul-jazz, this LP is killer from start to finish - exactly the kind we're after at Paris DJs: right in the margins, hard to pigeonhole! This should go big on this summer's festivals stages.
The Souljazz Orchestra - Inner Fire
(CD/LP/Download) Strut Records, 2014-02-24
01. Initiation 1:15
02. Kingdom Come 4:12
03. One Life To Live 4:03
04. As The Crow Flies 5:13
05. Black Orchid 4:15
06. Agoya 5:06
07. East Flows The River 4:58
08. Sommet En Sommet 4:17
09. Celestial Blues 5:51
10. Completion 0:46
Listen on Juno
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Artwork by Lewis Heriz
Press Release :
Our favorite globally-minded Canadian virtuosos have finished up a new recording for 2014, and it's a real scorcher! "Inner Fire", the latest from Pierre Chrétien & co. sees The Souljazz Orchestra perfecting their global music fusion, and treading some extremely funky territory while they're at it.
Recorded using the Orchestra's signature analogue techniques at their studio HQ in their home city of Ottawa, the new set continues the band's expansive musical journey as they effortlessly fuse intricate Eastern influences, Afro beats, Egyptian jazz, Latin styles and spiritual elements into their unique musical melting pot.
The secret to the band's sound remains a true openness to global music of all kinds and the individual experiences of the Orchestra's band members. "We all have very wide tastes, we're always digging for new sounds, and we've had the chance to work with master musicians from all over, from Nigeria to Rwanda, from Cuba to Haiti, so each band member ends up bringing different vibes and ideas to each of our albums", explains keyboardist Chrétien.
On "Inner Fire", the different vibes come thick and fast, burning through afro-jazz stompers, highlife flourishes, Cuban bolero sounds, smoldering salsa dura, and even scorching personal rendition of Gary Bartz NTU Troop's 1971 classic, "Celestial Blues".
"Inner Fire" will be out on February 24th, 2014, and the band will be undertaking a Canadian tour in February, followed by a full European tour in March and April.
Info about the album from the band :
So we've got some big news for you... The Souljazz Orchestra is back with a brand new studio album, Inner Fire, coming out February 2014, once again on Strut Records! Recorded with analog techniques at our Ottawa studio HQ, the new set continues the Souljazz musical journey with an esoteric mix of intricate Eastern influences, Afro beats, Latin styles and Spiritual Jazz elements. We're really excited about this one, we feel it's the culmination of a lot of different things we've touched on throughout the years, with a lot of fresh new vibes added to to the mix.
Just to give you an idea, side A features 'Kingdom Come', an afro-jazz stomper influenced by North-East African big band sounds, 'One Life To Live', a haunting highlife arrangement on the importance of seizing the day, 'As The Crow Flies', a soaring bossa-tinged piece and 'Black Orchid', a bumping fusion of cinematic soul-jazz with Cuban bolero sounds. The flip starts off with the firing salsa dura party jam 'Agoya' before the ritual chant of 'East Flows The River', a spiritual jazz hymn using Eastern modes. The tempo ramps up again on 'Sommet En Sommet', a heavy 12/8 afro-jazz piece influenced by Guinean popular music. Our percussionist Marielle Rivard then takes the lead on vocals for a fierce personal rendition of Gary Bartz NTU Troop's 1971 classic, 'Celestial Blues'.
So the album comes out in February 2014, and we'll be touring Canada in support of the release during the following month. We'll then be heading off to Europe in March and April for a good long tour there as well, keep checking the website for official tour dates in the weeks to come!
Inner Fire Album Release Tour :
Feb 15 - Gatineau, QC - Le Petit Chicago
Feb 21 - Québec, QC - Le Cercle
Feb 22 - Montréal, QC - La Sala Rossa
Mar 01 - Kingston, ON - The Mansion
Mar 07 - Toronto, ON - The Garrison
Mar 08 - Hamilton, ON - This Ain't Hollywood
Mar 15 - Ottawa, ON - Babylon Nightclub
May 10 - Wakefield, QC - Black Sheep Inn
Hopefully some European "Inner Fire" tour dates will follow!
For more info, see the complete schedule on souljazzorchestra.com