Scratched Into Our Souls

The Souljazz Orchestra – ‘Rising Sun’ | July 17, 2010

You know the age of internet connectivity is upon us when a band from Ottawa can manage to create a jazz album that feels like a synthesis between the style of John Coltrane, the swagger of James Brown’s backing band, the textures of Ethiopian jazz, the afro-beat of Fela Kuti, and the spiritual jazz of Sun Ra. Cultural boundaries? Torn down like they don’t even exist. Musical boundaries? Pushed to the breaking point. Emotional boundaries? Unlimited.

And here it is, in all of its ethnomusicological glory. The new record by The Souljazz Orchestra is titled Rising Sun, an appropriate title that suggests the gradual change in the color palates of the sky as the sun rises out of the crispness of the late night. These changes in tone, texture, and emotional emphasis are a strong-suit of The Souljazz Orchestra, who have managed to create an album that is as much an amalgamation of styles as it is a statement that they have arrived on the scene with something important to say. 

Rising Sun ranges from pieces of careful restraint like “Lotus Flower” to energetic masses of sound like the Ethio-jazz inspired “Negus Negast,” but everything is tied together by a common sense of purpose and the incredible musicianship of this terrific group of musicians. For a jazz album, this thing is packed with ideas – the songs are all closer to the traditional length of pop songs than the longer-spanning spiritual pieces like Sun Ra’s “Space is the Place,” and that fact should keep new listeners intrigued and engaged throughout the length of the whole album. Let’s hope that it does, because there is a whole world of treasures waiting to be discovered on Rising Sun.

Listen: The Souljazz Orchestra – “Agbara”


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    About Me: Chris Robinson

    A budding writer and avid music fan from Los Angeles, California, I am a recent graduate of Music History from UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music. I've written for the UCLA Daily Bruin, graduated valedictorian from high school, and enjoy many different types of music, from The Beatles to Beethoven, and everything in between. I wrote my senior thesis on lyrical misinterpretations in popular music, focusing on Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA."

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    All music posted on this blog is for sampling purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Go out and buy their music, attend their shows, and buy merchandise.

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