It’s no questions why The Commotions have been dubbed “ones to watch”: the Canadian jazz / soul / funk collective savvily command every room they play, drawing in audiences with their sizzling brass section, thumping backbeat, and sensitive ballads. This performance prowess means that, as one of Canada’s resident big bands, they have sidestepped the lightweight pop craze and taken the back roads straight into the hearts of their loyal fans, earning unwavering support from the true lovers of genuine, unsullied soul music. Known as the 12-piece collective of sharply dressed, incredibly talented musical artists they are, The Commotions revel in their original throwback to the days of Motown. Their Fall 2017 full-length album release Volume II continued this musical quest by providing epic, sparkling, catchy and uncommonly skilled songs that, as Musical Director Brian Asselin explains, are about reclaiming the spirit of soul. “Soul is the music of the people,” Asselin says. “If you look at all the iconic soul performers like Marvin Gaye or even the Temptations or the Supremes, they were documenting what was happening in the world. “Soul music spoke to that. We are trying to do that today.” Already featuring the likes of Rebecca Noelle (Soulstice, Quebec’s version of “The Voice” — “La Voix”) and Jeff Rogers (The Cooper Brothers) — plus musical director, producer, songwriter, and tenor sax ace Brian Asselin — Volume II’s impressive and lengthy roster of guest features includes, among others, Philosopher King’s Jarvis Church, MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner, and Juno-nominated Petr Cancura. The Commotions originally united to prived a Canadian contingent to Funk Brother’s (Motown Records) lead vocalist Delbert Nelson as “Delbert & The Commotions”. The band’s Musical Director Brian Asselin honed his skills performing with acts such as The Funk Brothers, and his original music has been featured on HBO’s “Looking” and ABC’s “The Fosters” in the U.S.
Alex Puddu's going right back to the beginning here – serving up some tight, sharp sounds that are very much in the 70s funk mode that first gave him inspiration! And this time around, he's got Lonnie Jordan from War on board – singing on three of the album's great tracks – which helps bring a bit of classic Chicano funk to the mix! Other tunes feature vocals from singers Adrian Wilding and Duane Hobson, and the album also features some great instrumentals too – all with a groove that comes from Puddu's own work on drums, bass, and guitars – in a combo that also includes vibes, congas, tenor, and some sweet electric piano and organ. Titles include "Here For A Change", "Step On Your Ego", "Runaway Boys", "Ocean Drive", "Here For A Change", "Wild Saxophone", "Don't Stop Moving", "Cobra", and "Stormy Weather". ~ Dusty Groove
JOHN SURMAN – INVISIBLE THREADS
Invisible threads of sound from reedman John Surman – heard here in a group that's got an especially great sound – as it features piano from Nelson Ayres and a mixture of vibes and marimba from Rob Waring! Surman's always great, but he's sometimes got an icier edge on ECM – which is definitely not the case here, as he blows between the ringing tones of the vibes and piano – a really unusual mix for a trio date like this, and one that fills the music with these warm chords that are wonderful. Surman blows soprano, baritone, and bass clarinet – and there seems to be a beautifully equal balance between the players in the creative process – on titles that include "On Still Waters", "Within The Clouds", "Autumn Nocturne", "At First Sight", "The Admiral", "Pitanga Pitomba", "Summer Song", and "Stoke Damerel". ~ Dusty Groove