Usually I stick to reviewing electronic music but the sounds The Souljazz Orchestra produce could be mistaken for some great electro jazz or trip hop. Percussionist Marielle Rivard does a great job providing the beat for the amazing instrumentation. I realize they are a “jazz” orchestra but their heavy use of sax rather than the usual dominant trumpet or brass sound is a great change of pace.
Hailing from the Canadian capital city of Ottawa, Souljazz create some very hot Latin and Caribbean-tinged sounds which must keep them and their listeners warm throughout the chilly Canadian winters.
Celestial Blues is an amazing cover of Andy Bey’s soulful classic, but sped up a bit with a great trip hop beat featuring a slick bass groove. If you’re looking for a “chill” track “Black Orchid” has what you’re looking for as a smooth flowing track with a bluesy sax solo.
If you are one of the many in the U.S. looking for something to help warm you up right now and can’t afford a getaway to Miami, then I would recommend the spicy latin-flavored “Agoya.” I really loved the staccatoed horn hits and that baritone sax part rounded out the sound with added richness. The percussion really kept everything going at a sizzling pace too.
“East Flows the River” was the main track that reminded me of the “trip hop” sound. It flows at a moderate pace like a river and you can really feel the upright bass part which gives it a little of the feel you’ll get on a lot of trip hop tracks that use more vintage samples.
Souljazz Orchestra appears on Strut Records and “Inner Fire” is due out February 25th. Hopefully we avoid another polar vortex before then and you can just enjoy this great album for the music and not only to try to warm up!