Soul Jazz Orchestra Manifesto

Ottawa's Afro-beat stalwarts return with a full-length collection of mostly medium tempo, simmering grooves that might not induce casual listeners into much more than kitchen dancing but the disc does reward those who've experienced the live show from which these tracks arose. Innovation through Afro-beat isn't what Soul Jazz Orchestra do best — don't believe the hype about adding new layers or influences from global travels to the brass, keys and polyrhythms — but starting and maintaining a fiery party is. And even though that spirit of live improvisation and performer-audience unity prove tricky to extract from this studio album, SJO are no duds. Album opener "Parasite," with its chanting and horn solos, and slow builder "People, People," with its jazz-funk saxophone riffs, do a good job of showing what the band can do. Next time, let's hope they show us something we didn't know they could. (Do Right!)