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The members of Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra are musical nomads. Weaving together Latin sounds, Caribbean rhythms, Afro beats and Coltrane-inspired jazz, the six-piece are known for their musical mosaic (as opposed to melting pot). Producers Pierre Chrétien (band member and Inner Fire's composer) and Jason Jaknunas cast the band's sixth full-length in that mould, albeit with its own story arc.
Kingdom Come sets the tone for a largely Eastern-inspired journey (this could be a 70s Bond movie, the setting northeast Africa) that continues even while other sounds surge to the forefront. One Life To Live nods to reggae (in its rhythm, lyrics and spoken Marleyesque voice-over), bossa novan As The Crow Flies is anchored by a moody brass theme. Black Orchid provides a funky interlude. Unfortunately, it's a momentum killer. The band dives into salsa on Agoya, and then an ominous, boom-bap spiritual, East Flows The River. Less party than their live show (and some of their previous releases), Inner Fire is still damn hot.
Top track: Kingdom Come
The Souljazz Orchestra play the Garrison Friday (March 7).