THE SOULJAZZ ORCHESTRA / “The SoulJazz Orchestra Mixtape”

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When you listen to this music you might find it difficult to believe that this band is from Ottawa, Canada. The power and reach of black music is undeniable when we check out how far flung is the influence on world musical culture.

If they were simply a jazz outfit it might be a bit more understandable. Or if they were a hip hop crew no one would question their existence. But this is an afrobeat ensemble—afrobeat in Canada.
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Moreover, this is not a rooty-poot outfit. This is strong music crossing cultural boundaries. Plus, their repertoire evidences big ears on the part of the band members. Obviously Fela is the main influence, but there is also a lot of James Brown in the ensemble work and a whole lot of Pharoah Sanders in the saxophone solos.

Beyond sharing their music with you I can’t explain how it came to be because I don’t know. What I do know is that they are good—in fact, they are better than good. One other thing I know for sure, afrobeat is growing stronger and stronger. Afrobeat ensembles are popping up worldwide. The SoulJazz Orchestra happens to be one of my favorites, however in the days ahead we will share the work of other afrobeat ensembles.
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The core of The SoulJazz Orchestra is a sextet composed of:
Pierre Chrétien - electric piano, clavinet, organ, percussion, guitar, bass, vocals
Marielle Rivard - shekere, tambourine, vocals
Steve Patterson - tenor sax, percussion, vocals
Ray Murray - baritone sax, percussion, vocals
Zakari Frantz - alto sax, flute, percussion, vocals
Philippe Lafrenière - drums, percussion, vocals

Thus far they’ve issued four albums and I’ve chosen tracks from each of their releases. You can hear how the band has developed over the five years of their existence. Sample this delightful music—try it, I’m sure you’ll like it.

—Kalamu ya Salaam

The SoulJazz Orchestra Mixtape Playlist

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Uprooted (2005)
01 “Quest”
02 “Satellites In Orbit”

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Freedom No Go Die (2007)
03 “Mista President”
04 “The Creator Has A Master Plan”
05 “Mojuba”

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Manifesto (2008)
06 “People, People”
07 “Kapital”
08 “State Terrorism”

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Rising Sun (2010)
09 “Awakening”
10 “Agbara”
11 “Serenity”
12 “Rejoice, Pt. 1”
13 “Rejoice, Pt. 2”

This entry was posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010 at 3:52 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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