ATLANTIS JAZZ ENSEMBLE
SLIM MOORE & THE MAR-KAYS
THE SOULJAZZ ORCHESTRA
Like the mythical Lost Continent that gave it its name, the Atlantis Jazz Ensemble's music lies somewhere between the shores of Africa, Europe, and the Americas, influenced by jazz currents stemming from both sides of the Atlantic.
The group was founded in 2013 by saxophonist Zakari Frantz and pianist Pierre Chrétien of the Souljazz Orchestra, both looking to explore new directions in modal, spiritual and esoteric jazz music. They recruited like-minded trumpeter Ed Lister, double bassist Alex Bilodeau, and drummer Mike Essoudry for the journey, and the new combo was soon on its way.
After spending a few years refining the group's signature sound through residencies at the infamous Petit Chicago in Old-Hull, the Atlantis Jazz Ensemble is now releasing its long-awaited debut LP, "Oceanic Suite", a seven-part conceptual jazz album depicting the sea and other related themes. Slated for release with Marlow Records on April 15th, 2016, the combo is now ready to make some serious waves.
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When you combine Slim Moore's hot-buttered voice with the honey-glazed horns and the oil-slick rhythm section of the Mar-Kays, you get the kind of deep,
rugged, gut-wrenching soul music that only comes around once in a blue moon. The kind of soul music that can be tough as leather, or smooth as silk. The kind
of soul music that can make you cry, dance, and tear your hair out - all at the same time.
Gary "Slim" Moore was born in 1964, in the urban community of Overbrook, Ontario, his parents having recently immigrated to the area from southeastern Jamaica.
Like many soul singers, he got his start singing in church, belting out hymns with his parents' Pentecostal congregation from the early age of four. While still
in his teens, he moved to Montreal, Quebec, where he began his singing career, performing with local bands and sound systems. However, it wasn't until the
mid-1990s, after moving back to his hometown, that he first met up with members of the Mar-Kays.
The project didn't take flight at the time, but the Mar-Kays continued to hone their chops in the meantime, a few of them even going on to back soul royalty:
Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Temptations, The Coasters, The Drifters, and The Platters, to name a few. Then, in 2009, the Mar-Kays managed to track down Slim
once more, and as luck had it, he was just as itching as they were to get something going again. Soon, Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays were finally a reality, and -
like fine aged Canadian whisky - the wait only made it all the more special.
Official Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays Website
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Since first arriving on the Canadian scene at the turn of the millenium, the Souljazz Orchestra has never stopped
pushing the limits of its signature sound: an explosive clash of Soul, Jazz, Afro, Latin and Caribbean styles, unleashed by
blaring majestic horns, dusty vintage keyboards, and an arsenal of earthquaking percussion.
The multicultural collective surfaces with a hard-hitting new record for the fall of 2015, Resistance, resuming its
link-up with UK-based Strut Records. "We approached this album with a fresh ear," explains composer Pierre Chrétien. "We
were keen to build on the band's sound and message, so I brought in some of the French Caribbean and Francophone West African
influences that I've loved since my youth." Consequently, the new album adds fresh dancefloor-oriented
elements of Coupé-Décalé, Zouk, and Ndombolo to the band's heavy mix of Afro, Soul and Jazz styles.
In keeping with the group's previous work, the band maintains powerful lyrics at the heart of its music, delivering
some biting social commentary alongside messages of hope. Recorded using the group's signature analogue techniques,
the resulting album is a bold musical statement, a defiant celebration of social justice and human empowerment.
Now celebrating its 14th year, the Souljazz Orchestra continues its impressive run of memorable albums. Breaking through on
Toronto label Do Right!, Freedom No Go Die (2006, featuring the single 'Mista President') and Manifesto (2008)
set the bar high. Rising Sun (2010), Solidarity (2012), and Inner Fire (2014), the group's first three albums
with Strut Records, were subsequently recognized as landmarks within their respective genres, going on to be nominated for multiple
Juno awards in Canada.
Meanwhile, years of relentless touring have formed the Souljazz Orchestra's live concerts
into the stuff of legends - more often than not culminating in ecstatic, sweat-soaked, cathartic affairs, mixing pulsating
arrangements with eruptive improvisations. So far, the Ottawa-based sextet has been fortunate enough
to bring its dynamite show to over two dozen countries across the globe, sharing bills along the way with heavyweights
such as Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and Femi Kuti, while showing no signs of slowing down. "When you're this passionate
about music, it's not something you can turn on or off like a tap." concludes saxophonist Ray Murray. "Souljazz is more than just a band for us,
it's a way of life."
Official Souljazz Orchestra Website
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