Souljazz Orchestra – Inner Fire: A Reflection


Mysterious brass; is there a better way to kick off an album? My love for James Bond soundtracks makes the first 30 seconds of Inner Fire an intriguing delight. Oh how this album makes me wish I knew how to dance, time to brush up on my tango. Hip-swaying jams and excellent, well-developed tracks make this album a sensual beast. The mix of instrumentation (especially on 'Kingdom Come' which uses little breaks to perfection) keep drawing me in as if the notes were dancing in front of me like a scantily-clad Jessica Alba. And that image will keep me grinning all day.


Its refreshing to hear all the flavours of a film score in use as the main point of interest, rather than providing the setting for another remake or sequel that no-one cares about. No points for guessing how they came up with the name, this band are serious jazz fiends. Each little solo does that little bit extra to entice me, full marks for execution (yes, Ive been following the Winter Olympics). I cant get the thought of dancing women out of my head, these sounds are just so exotic and its a great distraction from pretty much everything scrambling around my brain.


What I wouldnt give to be a part of a group such as this; everything is so in sync that each time theres a pause you can hear these beautiful resonating sounds that linger jusssssssst right. I cant help but picture an 80s cop show when As The Crow Flies comes on, maybe thats just my unhealthy TV obsession. But this isnt any of that Miami Vice cheese, and its far too cultured for any of the shopping channels. This is primetime. This is what Willis was talking about. 


Brass has long been the element that amplifies any musical love from me so it doesnt surprise me at all that this album has swiftly made its way onto my listening rotation. The sweet rhythm that holds these tracks together is complimented so smoothly by the swinging, natural bass sound. The sparse vocals interject with instinctive pockets of raw energy (except on the fiery Agoya and the delicious Celestial Blues) and their limited use paves the way for the brass to really take centre stage. Theres an obvious signature sound throughout the album and each track is able to stand out as an individual beaut; a key sign of any well-constructed album. 


Inner Fire has got me all riled up and chilled out at the same time. I dont know whether to go running or go for a nap. 


Nap, always nap.


Inner Fire is released on 24th February and available for pre-order here.


Ciaran Steward