Souljazz Orchestra, Zongo Junction, DJ Bylamplight | Empty Bottle | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader

Souljazz Orchestra, Zongo Junction, DJ Bylamplight Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Dec. 7, 10 p.m. 2012

On the recent Solidarity (Strut) Souljazz Orchestra doesn't actually play soul jazz at all. Instead this international-flavored Ottawa instrumental combo roots its horn-stoked sound primarily in muscular Afrobeat (such as the scorching opener, "Bibanay") and adds vocals for the first time, both by band members and guest singers. The group flirts with Pernambuco carnival music on "Cartao Postal," featuring Brazilian expat Rommel Teixeira Ribeiro on vocals, and with old-fashioned Mandingo jams on a cover of Orchestra Baobab's "Nijaay" that includes singing by Senegalese expat El Hadji M'baye; the album also toys with jacked-up Afro-Cuban grooves on "Ya Basta" and roots reggae on "Jericho," which sounds awfully similar to Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier." Solidarity was recorded in mono on a beat-up eight-track tape machine, giving it a somewhat fetishistic retro feel, but it's too much fun to sound like a museum piece. The group is touring without any of the guest vocalists. —Peter Margasak Zongo Junction and DJ Bylamplight open.

Price: $12

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