Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Souljazz Orchestra: All Of The Above

On the new Rising Sun, Canada's Souljazz Orchestra lives up to all three parts of its name, with more instrumentation than ever and some notable sonic innovations since 2008's Manifesto. All the electric guitars, organs and lead vocals have been thrown out the window this time around, and, despite achieving an entirely acoustic sound, The Souljazz Orchestra sounds louder than ever. The group's versatility hasn't suffered, either; as Souljazz emulates Latin jazz with the same attention to detail it lends its more Afrobeat-influenced songs.

"Negus Negast" is one of nine instrumental tracks that play with a strong beat and even stronger solos, as an initial burst of brass and drums creates a bombastic flavor before making way for heavy horns. All the instruments make essential contributions, but the vibraphone is a clear standout here: Hearing those long, watery notes cast out over a fusion beat brings to mind a fantasy collaboration between Fela Kuti and the Modern Jazz Quartet's Milt Jackson. Souljazz doesn't reinvent soul, jazz or the fusion thereof, but it plays all of the above with the passion that drove its forefathers.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Anthony Fantano