Album Review: The Souljazz Orchestra, Solidarity, Strut Records


Canada’s most prominent afrobeat revivalist group return with an album recorded on vintage equipment. You hear that claim a lot, but here it really shows: this album sounds like it came out in 1976. This isn’t the Fela-fetishism of Antibalas, but a more global survey of sounds that use a lot of horns, a lot of bass and an incredibly infectious, funky beat. Opener “Bibinay” and “Ya Basta” swing with a Latin sound, “Jericho” and “Kingpin” move things to the islands. “Cartão Postal” could be coming out of a soundsystem in a Rio favela. This is incredibly infectious music, moving from culture to culture but keeping the party going. Listening to it made me wonder if this kind of mimicry is justified: I can’t overstate the degree to which this album feels authentic, and authentically old. The tunes themselves are catchy and make you want to dance enough to quiet a lot of the concerns. But while the mimicry here is excellent, I have a hard time seeing that the Souljazz Orchestra is bringing anything new to the table. This is excellent, but this is 2012. Maybe find the real thing. (Strut Records) by Aaron van Dorn