The Souljazz Orchestra
Since first arriving on the Canadian scene at the turn of the millennium, the Souljazz Orchestra has never stopped pushing the limits of its signature sound: an explosive clash of Soul, Jazz, Afro, Latin and Caribbean styles, unleashed by blaring majestic horns, dusty vintage keyboards, and an arsenal of earthquaking percussion.
The multicultural collective surfaced with a hard-hitting new record for the fall of 2015, Resistance, resuming its link-up with UK-based Strut Records. In keeping with the group’s previous work, the band maintains powerful lyrics at the heart of its music, delivering some biting social commentary alongside messages of hope. Recorded using the group’s signature analogue techniques, the resulting album is a bold musical statement, a defiant celebration of social justice and human empowerment.
Now celebrating its 15th year, the Souljazz Orchestra continues its impressive run of memorable albums. Breaking through on Toronto label Do Right!, Freedom No Go Die (2006, featuring the single ‘Mista President’) and Manifesto (2008) set the bar high. Rising Sun (2010), Solidarity (2012), and Inner Fire (2014), the group’s first three albums with Strut Records, were subsequently recognized as landmarks within their respective genres, going on to be nominated for multiple Juno awards in Canada.
Meanwhile, years of relentless touring have formed the Souljazz Orchestra’s live concerts into the stuff of legends – more often than not culminating in ecstatic, sweat-soaked, cathartic affairs, mixing pulsating arrangements with eruptive improvisations. So far, the Ottawa-based sextet has been fortunate enough to bring its dynamite show to over two dozen countries across the globe, sharing bills along the way with heavyweights such as Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and Femi Kuti, while showing no signs of slowing down. “When you’re this passionate about music, it’s not something you can turn on or off like a tap.” concludes saxophonist Ray Murray. “Souljazz is more than just a band for us, it’s a way of life.”