Anthony Joseph’s Caribbean Roots

Anthony Joseph final cover hi resStrut team up for the first time with acclaimed French label Heavenly Sweetness for the brand new album by the celebrated poet, novelist and musician, Anthony Joseph.

‘Caribbean Roots’ represents an uncompromising return to his roots for Joseph, who has always remained true to a powerful, deep-seated sense of his own Caribbean identity. Starting out as a joint project with the outstanding percussionist Roger Raspail (Cesaria Evora, Papa Wemba), the album swiftly grew into a major work incorporating the rhythms, sounds and vibes that rock the Caribbean from San Fernando, Kingston and Les Abymes to Port-au-Prince and Havana. Backed by a band made up of a blend of musicians with Caribbean origins or connections, the album attempts to unite the different islands into a single entity without diluting any individual strand. “The idea, heard so often,” says Joseph, “is that the Caribbean is a fragmented region, socially, politically, historically. In my view, it’s a unified space, with more relations than disparities. The album is asking Caribbean people to consider that their roots are in the Caribbean, that their generations run deep and that now, we can claim it as ancestral space.”

AJ5 credit MIRABELWHITE med cropJoseph weaves an uncompromising direction through the album tracks, spinning his unique lyrical blend of afro-futurism and surrealism. He explores his native Trinidad and takes, in his own words, “a journey into the dark heart of the island”. He chronicles tales and parables: “songs tell of runaway slaves; badjohns or rude boys that we find much in black culture – our heroes, our soldiers”. There’s a muscular tribute to calypso great Mighty Sparrow and incisive reflections on colonialism: “As a Caribbean ex-pat living in Europe, I break out of the quotidian to realize that these grand architectures around me were built by those who colonized and enslaved me. I guess the album is about celebrating roots, but roots that lie within us.”

Heavyweight guests on the album include saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming) and Jason Yarde (Jazz Jamaica All Stars), trumpeter Yvon Guillard (Magma), bassist Mike Clinton (Salif Keita), trombonist Pierre Chabrèle (Creole Jazz Orchestra), Patrick Marie-Magdelene (Manu Dibango), celebrated Trinidad calypso icon David Rudder and Andy Narrell, master of the steel pans.

‘Caribbean Roots’ is released on Heavenly Sweetness / Strut on CD, LP and digital on June 24th. Pre-orders are available now. Album track “Mano A Mano” is streaming below.

The Souljazz Orchestra Autumn Tour

souljazz_orchestra5_cropWe’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The Souljazz Orchestra is simply one of the hardest working, must see live bands in the business. With their incendiary new album Resistance out now, the Ottawa-based sextet lead by Pierre Chrétien is taking to the road for an absolutely epic series of dates that sees them taking their very own fusion of roots music, jazz and funk from their native Canada to Europe and back again, making converts as they go. Dress light, as these shows will be HOT!

Resistance is available now via online retail and the Strut Store.

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Full Tour Dates

Sep 12 – Port Hope, CA – All-Canadian Jazzfest
Sep 26 – Ottawa, CA – Babylon Nightclub
Oct 03 – Lausanne, CH – Holy Groove Festival
Oct 04 – London, UK – Jazz Cafe
Oct 05 – Zurich, CH – Moods
Oct 08 – Beauvais, FR – L’Ouvre-Boîte
Oct 09 – Sannois, FR – EMB
Oct 10 – Rennes, FR – Ubu
Oct 11 – Laval, FR – 6PAR4
Oct 13 – Paris, FR – New Morning
Oct 14 – Massy, FR – Paul B
Oct 15 – Lyon, FR – Marché Gare
Oct 16 – Montpellier, FR – Rockstore
Oct 17 – Chalon-sur-Saône, FR – La Péniche
Oct 19 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern
Oct 20 – Liverpool, UK – The Kazimier
Oct 22 – Milan, IT – Biko Club
Oct 23 – Barcelona, SP – Say It Loud
Oct 24 – Madrid, SP – Sala Clamores
Oct 25 – Berlin, DE – Yaam
Oct 27 – Bochum, DE – Bahnhof Langendreer
Oct 29 – Cologne, DE – Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
Oct 30 – Pfarrkirchen, DE – Club Bogaloo
Oct 31 – Offenbach, DE – Hafen 2
Nov 03 – Vienna, AT – Andino
Nov 04 – Prague, CZ – AghaRTA
Nov 05 – Athens, GR – GazARTE
Nov 07 – Marseille, FR – Cabaret Aléatoire
Nov 14 – Gatineau, QC – Le Petit Chicago
Nov 20 – Hamilton, CA – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 21 – Toronto, CA – Lee’s Palace
Nov 27 – Québec, CA – Le Cercle
Nov 28 – Montréal, CA – La Sala Rossa

The Souljazz Orchestra Take To The Streets of Montreal’s Carnival in “Courage” Video

SJO_Courage_ScreenshotWe’re just over a week away from the release of the new Souljazz Orchestra LP Resistance, and the crew has another great music video to share. Shot on the streets of Montreal during Carnival, the video for “Courage” premiered today on Wax Poetics, and features the band diving head-on into a funky compas style.

Resistance is out September 4th. Pre-orders are available now via online retail and the Strut Store.

 

 

The Souljazz Orchestra Aims For the Heart On “Bull’s Eye” (Free Download)

souljazz_orchestra1_squareCanada’s powerhouse Afro / Latin / Tropical collective, The Souljazz Orchestra, surface with a hard-hitting new album Resistance for Autumn 2015. In keeping with the band’s previous work, the Orchestra keeps powerful lyrics at the heart of their music, delivering some biting social commentaries alongside messages of hope.

Having already shared the video for “Shock And Awe,” here’s another reason to get excited for the forthcoming album. “Bull’s Eye” was directly inspired by the Occupy movement,” says bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Pierre Chrétien. “The bull in the song refers to the Charging Bull on Wall Street, the iconic symbol of unbridled capitalism. The lyrics tell the rest of the story.” The heavy afro funk workout is available for free download, and is streaming below.

Resistance is released 4th September 2015 on Strut (on Do Right in Canada). Pre-orders are available now at online retail and the Strut Store.

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

The_Souljazz_Orchestra_Resistance_front_coverCanada’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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Haiti Direct: Out Now!

STRUT093_cover sm Literally years in the making, our Haiti Direct collection, compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito, is out and available in stores. The two disc collection celebrates the overlooked musical legacy of Haiti, going beyond Ra-ra and voodoo stereotypes to trace the development of a unique sound that echoed across the Caribbean, yet remains relatively under the radar outside of the region.

Support from fans, press, and radio has been amazing, with BBC Radio 6 Music playlisting regularly, and the Sunday Times calling the collection “essential listening.”

Haiti Direct is available on 2xCD, 2xLP (with CD included), and digital download, and can be purchased from local music retailers, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.

Preview three of the tracks from Haiti Direct below.

Psychedelic Haitian Soul from Le Loups Noirs

LoupsNoirsOne of the most interesting aspects of the music and time period covered on our Haiti Direct release is the sheer number of stylistic fusions that characterize Haiti’s music of the 60’s and 70’s. “Pile Ou Face,” by Les Loups Noirs, stands out with the notable influence of American soul music, and the lightly psychedelic elements of the guitar and organ make it especially unique.

From the liner notes:
Led by charismatic singer Gardner Lalanne, Les Loups Noirs (The Black Wolves) were extremely popular in the ’70s, touring extensively and recording across the Caribbean and in New York and Paris. “Pile Ou Face” (heads or tails) is an uncharacteristically experimental instrumental that layers saxophones and swirling organ over a rolling compas beat – a great demonstration of the way that the timbales and percussion sections of the big bands were being replaced by stripped-back cowbell and kick drum at the beginning of the ‘70s.

Haiti Direct, compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito, is out today (tomorrow in the US). Pick it up at fine music stores worldwide, or via the links below:

iTunesAmazonStrut Store