Canadian musical collective The Souljazz Orchestra present their ninth studio album Chaos Theories. Steeped in their regular blend of soul, jazz and funk, the band’s latest effort takes time to address the political upheaval in the western world, masterminded by their leader Pierre Chrètien.
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Okay, so I wouldn’t have guessed this lot are Canadian. Channeling the spirit of Fela Kuti and Africa ‘70, and really riding those afrobeat rhythms with a phenomenal horn section (Murray, Patterson and Frantz) punctuating / nicing up the dance, this is ‘Chaos Theories’ by the Souljazz Orchestra. Also, as far as I can tell, there is little-to-none involvement with Soul Jazz Records. So, all Canadian, some afrobeat, some Mulatu Astatke-type Ethio-Jazz vibes, all funky. Funky, funky, good-times jazz.
Funky good-times jazz which comes with a political message, yes, but politics need not get in the way of a party obviously -- oh no, quite the opposite! ‘Police The Police’ rightly and understandably sets its sights on the Old Bill, written says Souljazz leader Pierre Chrètien, “after my neighbour was beaten to death by Ottawa police during an arrest.” ‘House of Cards’ with its line "lies within lies within lies" is a thinly-veiled snipe at… we can probably correctly guess who.
Then comes ‘Sky High’, a tremendously funky piece of (jazz-)funk. Okay you get it by now, it’s FUN-kee. With the correct amount of emphasis on fun, but these guys are also more than a bit serious. ‘General Strike’ gives voice to the frustrations of the working class and a ridiculously increasing wage-gap, to a soundtrack propelled by a chunky rhythm guitar calling to mind both the Police and the Clash.
I can dig it, possibly because I’m very serious about my fun. Good stuff all round then.
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