The Souljazz Orchestra Performs On Freeway Overpass In “Shock And Awe”

souljazz_orchestra1_squareThe Souljazz Orchestra continue to evolve their sound and scope, while at the same time retaining their original line-up, going back to the band’s formation in 2002. As you can imagine, this makes for some incredibly tight playing. The band’s practially psychic connection is on full display in the music video for “Shock And Awe,” shot on a freeway overpass in the band’s home city of Ottawa.

“That whole day was crazy,” explains bandleader Pierre Chrétien. “Cars were honking the whole time, crowds gathered. Someone even called the cops on us, thinking we were kids throwing rocks off the bridge. A cop showed up with a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. The officer was cool and  the reporter took shots of us – we ended up on page 2 of the paper the next day. They called it “Not A Rock Group” because we weren’t throwing rocks…”

“Shock And Awe” is the first single from the upcoming album Resistance, out September 4th on Strut. The track is available on streaming services, and as a free download with pre-orders of the album: http://lnk.to/SJO_ShockAndAwe

 

The Souljazz Orchestra Returns With New Album ‘Resistance’ September 2015

Canada’s powerhouse Afro / Latin / Tropical collective, The Souljazz Orchestra, return in September 2015 with a powerhouse new album that sees the ensemble exploring some new sonic territory.

“We approached this album with a fresh ear,” explains bandleader Pierre Chrétien. “We were keen to build on the band’s sound and message, bringing in some of the French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences that we’ve loved since our youth, so the new album brings in French language tracks and elements of coupé-décalé, zouk and cadence to the overall mix.”

The Souljazz Orchestra remain one of the most solid units in their scene, retaining their original line-up since they were first formed back in 2002. On Resistance, they showcase their continuing versatility with saxman Ray Murray, percussionist Marielle Rivard, drummer Philippe Lafrenière and keyboardist Pierre Chrétien all taking on lead vocal duties on different tracks.

Resistance is released on 8th September on CD, LP & digital formats, and the band embark on a major new international tour, hitting up Europe during September and October 2015, followed by a Canadian run in November 2015.

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Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band Perform “Gyae Su” In Accra

Rehearsal photo 3 cropIt’s not every day that you get to observe a master at work, but that’s exactly the feeling we get watching Pat Thomas rehearse with his all-star Kwashibu Area Band at their studio in Accra. The nimble playing of each musician adds its piece to an intricate puzzle, providing the perfect bed for Thomas’ expressive vocals.

With their self-titled debut album available now, Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band will be hitting the road this fall. Confirmed dates below.

02.10.15 London, UK: Richmix
07.10.15 Brussels, Belgium: AB Club
08.10.15 Paris, France: New Morning
09.10.05 Zurich, Switzerland: Stall 6
10.10.15 Lyon, France: Le Sucre
17.10.15 Utrecht, Holland: Rasa
18.10.15 Amsterdam, Holland: Paradiso
20.10.15 Berlin, Germany: Bi Nuu
22.10.15 – 24.10.15 Budapest, Hungary: Womex showcase

 

Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band

“I’m an afrobeat drummer but Pat Thomas is highlife. That is what he does so well.” -Tony Allen

Coming in June, we are proud to announce the brand new studio album by one of Ghana’s all-time great vocalists, “The Golden Voice Of Africa”, Pat Thomas, in conjunction with the Kwashibu Area Band led by multi-instumentalist Kwame Yeboah (Cat Stevens, Patrice) and saxophonist Ben Abarbanel-Wolff (Ebo Taylor, Poets of Rhythm).

A regular collaborator with Ebo Taylor, Thomas was mainstay of the ‘70s and ‘80s Ghanaian highlife, afrobeat and afro-pop scenes, hitting big with the Ghana Cocoa Board-sponsored Sweet Beans band. Thomas’ new album marks over 50 years making music and reunites him with old friends: Ebo Taylor provides horn arrangements, Tony Allen contributes drums to several tracks, Osei Tutu (Hedzolleh Sounds) plays a memorable trumpet solo and prolific 1970s bassist Ralph Karikari (The Noble Kings) also features. Younger generation stars appearing include bassist Emmanuel Ofori, percussionist “Sunday” Owusu and Pat Thomas’ daughter Nanaaya, an acclaimed vocalist in her own right.

Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band is released June 16th 2015 on CD, LP and digital formats featuring hand-drawn artwork by Lewis Heriz and full sleeve notes. The campaign will feature remixes released in conjunction with Absolut Vodka. Watch a video on the studio sessions below.

 

Video: Orlando Julius Performs “Aseni” Live With The Heliocentrics

As they make their way across Europe, it’s a full-on party when Orlando Julius hits the stage with The Heliocentrics. Recorded live in Brussels, this performance of “Aseni” shows the stage ablaze with synchronized dance moves and razor sharp musicianship. Make sure to catch this show when they come through your city!

European Tour Dates

11th: Ljubjana SLO / Kino Siska
12th: Rome IT / Teatro Quirinetta
13th: Bologna IT / Locomotiv Club
14th: Turin IT / Scuola Holden (General Store)
15th: Milan IT / Biko Club
19th: Arhus DEN / Atlas
20th: Copenhagen DEN / Global
21st: Stockholm SWE / Fasching

Orlando Julius’ collaborative album with The Heliocentrics, Jaiyede Afro is out now:
iTunesAmazonStrut Store

Afro-Beats Digital Collection

600x600Here at Strut, we’ve been captivated with African music of many varieties ever since we first dipped our toes into the vast waters of music from the continent. Our initial forays into releasing curated collections of music from Africa focused on West African Afrobeat and Afro-Funk, and in the following years broadened our scope to touch on Ethio Jazz, North African Gnawa, South African township jive, and countless other varieties and hybrids.

To kick off 2015, we’ve compiled selections from our many African releases for a special digital release. Afro-Beats is over two hours of music, and we kept the price below that of an average album release. Dig in, and enjoy!

iTunesAmazonBoomkatBleep

1. Ebo Taylor : Ayesama (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
2. Jabula : Jabula Happiness (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
3. Mulatu Astatke : Green Africa (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
4. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Koumi Dede (taken from Cotonou Club)
5. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Aseni (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
6. Jingo : Fever (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
7. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Phantom Of The Panther (taken from Inspiration Information)
8. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kelen (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
9. The Souljazz Orchestra : One Life To Live (taken from Inner Fire)
10. Cornell Campbell Meets Soothsayers : We Want to Be Free (taken from Nothing Can Stop Us)
11. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Against The Wall (taken from Inspiration Information)
12. Julian Bahula’s Jazz Afrika : Woza Cindi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
13. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Jaiyede Afro (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
14. The Souljazz Orchestra : As The Crow Flies (taken from Inner Fire)
15. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kononi (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
16. Orlando Julius & His Modern Aces : Efoye So (taken from Super Afro Soul)
17. Ebo Taylor : Abonsam (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
18. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Holonon (taken from Cotonou Club)
19. Mercury Dance Band : Envy No Good (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
20. Malombo Jazz Makers : Hleziphi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
21. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Esketa Dance (taken from Inspiration Information)
22. Mulatu Astatke : I Faram Gami I Faram (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
23. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Cella’s Walk (taken from Inspiration Information)
24. Ebo Taylor : Nga Nga (taken from Love And Death)

Strut’s Favorite Releases Of 2014

StrutBestof2014To mark the end of the year, we thought it would be worth asking Strut’s Quinton Scott to pull out a few of the albums that have been on repeat at the label HQ during 2014. Hope you enjoy this round-up of archive African gems, soul stompers, DIY electronics and more.

For more updates on our favorite music, make sure to follow our Original World Funk and Death Disco & Jacking House Spotify playlists.

Big thanks to everyone who has supported the label this year and wishing everyone a really happy and peaceful Christmas.

10 COMPILATIONS / REISSUES

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V/A – Haiti Direct (Strut)

Stream on Spotify

Hugo Mendez collects together stunning set of compass and twoubadou rarities.

NanaLove

Nana Love – Disco Documentary: Full of Funk (BBE)

Stream on Spotify

Essential oddball West African disco set.

 

GraceJonesGrace Jones – Nightclubbing (Deluxe Edition) (Island)

Stream on Spotify

Well curated deluxe version of classic album with massive previously unreleased cover of ‘Me! I Disconnect From You.’

LesAmbassadeurs_600Les Ambassadeurs – Les Ambassadeurs De Motel De Bamaco (Sterns)

Stream on Spotify

‘70s Malian legends celebrated in a superb Stern’s deluxe package.

tabu-boxV/A – The Tabu Records Box Set (Tabu)

Buy from Dusty Groove

Early Jam & Lewis slick soul genius from Brainstorm, SOS Band and more.

K-Leimer_A-Period-Of-ReviewK. Leimer – A Period of Review (Rvng Intl)

Buy from Rvng Intl

Superb previously unreleased ambient pieces from US artist Kerry Leimer.

cybotron-enterCybotron – Enter (Fantasy)

Stream on Spotify

Juan Atkins and Richard Davis with their seminal ‘human life meets technology’ opus from ‘83.

SuburbanBase

V/A – Suburban Base Records: The History Of Hardcore, Jungle, Drum & Bass 1991-1997 (New State)

Buy from Piccadilly

Always a favourite rave label during the original days. Brilliant, raw, DIY dancefloor bombs and long overdue comp.

NorthernSoulV/A – Northern Soul: The Film Soundtrack (Harmless)

Buy from Juno

Fantastic collection of gems soundtracking Elaine Constantine’s film. Great for connoisseurs and newcomers alike.

ScienceFictionParkV/A – Science Fiction Park Bundesrepublik (Finders Keepers)

Buy from Finders Keepers

Dark and strange DIY electronics from ‘80s West Germany.

10 New Albums

ToddTerje_AlbumTimeTodd Terje – It’s Album Time (Olsen)

Stream on Spotify

The master Terje flexes his production guns with a great mix of disco, exotica and soul on his full length debut.

MeridianBrothers

Meridian Brothers – Salvadora Robot (Soundway)

Stream On Spotify

Surreal soundscapes from Colombia. Future music genius.

AndyStottAndy Stott – Faith In Strangers (Modern Love)

Buy from Boomkat

Brilliantly bleak and blown out electro / drone soundscapes.

FumacaPretaFumaca Preta – Fumaca Preta (Soundway)

Stream on Spotify

Primal and bonkers album mixing Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms with properly wigged out psychedelics.

CaribouCaribou – Our Love (Merge)

Stream On Spotify

Expertly crafted lush synth-meets-falsetto set.

 

nilsfrahmNils Frahm – Spaces (Erased Tapes)

Buy from Erased Tapes

Completely obsessed with Frahm’s music and ‘Spaces’ is minimal, spiritual majesty from start to finish.

ClapClapClap! Clap! – Tayi Bebba (Black Acre)

Stream on Spotify

Futuristic Afro sketches touching on electro, juke and hip hop.

fhloston_paradigm_-_the_phoenix_535_535_c1Fhlostom Paradigm – The Phoenix (Hyperdub)

Stream on Spotify

Kept going back to this album in 2014. Quality atmospheric soundtracky house-scapes. Fantastic production.

Orlando_Jaiyede AfroOrlando Julius with The Heliocentrics – Jaiyede Afro (Strut)

Stream on Spotify

Massive honour to work with the Afro-soul legend this year. New album found him on top form, revisiting compositions from his youth.

freddie-gibbs-madlib-pinataFreddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata (Madlib Invasion)

Stream on Spotify

Forward thinking beats and hard-knock raps. Madlib still untouchable.

 

 

Orlando Julius Explains His Role In The Disco Classic ‘Back To My Roots’

4.1.1Lamont Dozier’s “Back To My Roots” (which would go on to be covered by Odyssey, Richie Havens and many others) is a classic of the disco era. The track’s message of returning “to the place of my birth” is accentuated by a chugging guitar line reminiscent of Afrobeat. As it turns out, that’s not an accident.

In the video below, Orlando Julius (pictured here with James Brown) explains how his impromptu session with Hugh Masekela resulted in Julius’ composition “Ashiko” appearing on Masekela’s new album. It’s the signature figure from “Ashiko” that appears in “Back To My Roots,” for which Masekela received a writing credit, while Julius’ contribution remains unacknowledged.

Orlando Julius has refused to become embittered by his experience, but it’s a good feeling to be able to share his story. His new collaborative album Jaiyede Afro, recorded with The Heliocentrics, is available now from your local record shop, on iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.

 

Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics Announce European Tour

“In case it’s not clear: Jaiyede Afro is a tremendous album.”PopMatters

With this year’s collaborative album Jaiyede Afro hailed as one of the freshest takes on Afrobeat music in recent memory, Nigerian Afrobeat originator Orlando Julius and London’s psychedelic jazz ensemble The Heliocentrics are launching a massive European tour together. Who knows when this group of musicians will find themselves on stage together again? We suggest you don’t miss it.

Update: due to unforeseen visa issues, UK dates have been re-scheduled for May.

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Video: Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics In The Studio

Orlando Julius studio cropIn a behind-the-scenes look into the recording studio, The Heliocentrics and Orlando Julius talk about their collaborative album Jaiyede Afro. Malcolm Catto, the drummer and leader of The Heliocentrics mentions his desire to bring a psychedelic edge to the sessions, in the manner of some of his favorite African recordings by groups like the Psychedelic Aliens and others. Orlando Julius also gives the background on a few of his songs.

The Jaiyede Afro album is out September 8th, and can be ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly. CDs and limited 180 gram LPs are also available for pre-order from the Strut store.