Jul 3, 2009

Souljazz Orchestra - Manifesto

Manifesto is the highly anticipated follow-up to 2006's Freedom No Go Die. From the first note, it continues to expose the Ottawa multicultural collective's musical and thematic intricacies. Like their American counterparts Antibalas, Souljazz mix driving funk rhythms with searing politically charged lyrics. Manifesto opens with environmental/cultural ode "Parasite," which questions the supposed equality in a democratic society. Then the band gets super-charged for their condemnation of the capitalist system on "Kapital," which is particularly appropriate in lieu of the recent stock market crash. The album becomes less vocal-dominated as the band get their funk on with "State Terrorism." Here, the spirit of James Brown's backing band is reflected in the collective's performance, especially Pierre Chrétien's vintage '70s organ sounds. In channelling the spirit of Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, The Souljazz Orchestra outshine Kuti's son Femi with "Interested Benevolence," which brilliantly recaptures the band's live sound and energy. The laid-back "Grasshopper & Toad" shows the collective can also handle the subtleties of a purer form of West African soul-folk music. Manifesto is definitely a marquee album.


The Souljazz Orchestra´s debut album on the Do Right! label, "Freedom No Go Die", has come to receive rave reviews from critics and fans alike, its lead-off track reaching the Top 10 of the Year on Gilles Peterson´s BBC Radio 1 Show, as voted by the listeners. "Freedom No Go Die" also became one of the biggest selling afrobeat albums of the year in France. It has been featured on numerous compilations and has managed to climb charts not only at home but abroad as well. Since the release of "Freedom No Go Die", the SJO has been tirelessly touring the festival circuit across Europe and Canada, amassing quite an international following. The band now returns in full force with their new album "Manifesto".Building on the success of their previous effort, the SJO has upped the ante with this latest album. "Manifesto" reflects the various influences picked up from the band´s travels across the globe, making for a uniquely rich array of sounds. Their powerful chants, majestic brass, overheated organs, chicken-scratch guitars, hypnotic bass and poly-rhythmic percussion work mix tropical funk and spiritual jazz to the band´s signature militant afrobeat. The Souljazz Orchestra also cast their net wider with this latest effort, delving into the traditions of ancient folk tales and spirituality, while keeping their message politically conscious.Now in their 7th year as a band, the multicultural collective from Ottawa has had the honour of sharing the stage with the likes of Femi Kuti, Etta James and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. They have performed to crowds in venues around the globe, including France, England, Scotland, Denmark, Austria, Hungary and the United States. "Manifesto" is the fruit of the Souljazz Orchestra´s relentless touring, containing songs that have developed organically over the course of hundreds of live performances.



01. Parasite
02. Kapital
03. People, People
04. State Terrorism
05. Interested Benevolence
06. Grasshopper & Toad
07. Amen

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