Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reviews:: Souljazz Orchestra Rising Sun

I know it goes against most people's overwhelming desire to have the inspiration for each and every song to have traveled from war-torn and impoverished African nations, but truth be told Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra have shown more courage and talent on Rising Sun than they achieved on either of their previous efforts.

In the past, Souljazz came across like an Afrobeat machine - which left the "educated and current" white music lover (infatuated with the recent Fela revival) very happy - but the Ottawa band revealed more influences and talent on Rising Sun and have grown well past a singular sound. Rising Sun uses its nine songs to prove that; going fully acoustic, excellent pacing, arrangements and above all, variety all make this smoothed out record a must hear.

Instead of booming drums and tight horns and political uprising, Rising Sun is a more spiritual experience, which provides the necessary comedowns and change of emotion from the booming horns of Agbara, the pure funk of Mamaya and the Ethiopian vibe heavy Negus Negast. The trumpet work the band delivers on Lotus Flower transports you to the most relaxed of states and the surprisingly minimal combination of percussion and traditional jazz you hear on Serenity is soothing and sensual.

The band is up to the challenge of grabbing your ear without relying on the crutch of frantic pace and the mid-tempo work is outstanding. Rising Sun might not offer boomer after boomer in an attempt to grab you on the most casual of listen, but what the band has created here is more magical and timeless. The 45 minutes take you to countless regions and emotional states, and honestly, if you think this sounds like elevator music, I want to live or work in the buildings you do, because both are super heady space with a soundtrack that would inspire me each and every day.

MP3:: Souljazz Orchestra - Agbara

Labels: afrobeat, , , , , Souljazz Orchestra

Posted at 8:45 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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