The Souljazz Orchestra



Ottawa's beloved big beat afro-funk band


Sep 24 08:15 PM


Small World Music Stage presented by Exodus Travels



Since first arriving on the Canadian scene at the turn of the millenium, 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 surfaces with a hard-hitting new record for the fall of 2015, Resistance, resuming its link-up with UK-based Strut Records. "We approached this album with a fresh ear," explains composer Pierre Chrétien. "We were keen to build on the band's sound and message, so I brought in some of the French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences that I've loved since my youth." Consequently, the new album adds fresh dancefloor-oriented elements of Coupé-Décalé, Zouk, and Ndombolo to the band's heavy mix of Afro, Soul and Jazz styles.

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 14th 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."

"That's made for music, that is. The Souljazz Orchestra, from Canada!" -DJ Gilles Peterson, BBC Radio

"A truly genre-bending international music juggernaut." -Pop Matters, USA

"A straight-up funky, raucous, dancefloor-troubling, riot-provoking monster." -OkayPlayer, USA

"Like a shot of musical caffeine!" -Télévision France 24, Paris France

"Beyond badass!" - National Geographic, USA

"World Music Album of the Year": Resistance
- 2016 JUNO Awards, Canada

"Top International Album of 2015" (#1): Resistance
- !earshot 2015 Year-End Radio Charts, Canada

"Top Canadian Albums of 2015": Resistance
- CBC Music, Canada

- First concert in Africa (Côte d'Ivoire) in May 2016

- Massive European summer tour in 2016

- More press quotes here: