"Top Albums of 2011"
Canadian Campus Chart, Toronto ON

"Top Albums of 2011"
Ear To The Sound, Winnipeg MB

"Top Albums of 2011"
Randall Funk, Ottawa ON

"Top Albums of 2011"
Mangroove, Montréal QC

"Top Albums of 2011"
Soul Donuts, Eugene OR

"Top Albums of 2011"
Funk*U, Paris France

"Top 10 Albums of the Week"
September & October 2011
!earshot National Hip Hop Charts, Canada

"Top 100"
October 2011
iTunes France RnB & Soul Song Charts

"Artist of the Month"
September 2011
Planète Jazz, Montréal QC

"Top Albums of September 2011"
Radio Nova, Paris France

"Top 10 Albums of the Week"
September & October 2011
Palmarès interactif, Bande à part, Radio-Canada

Canadian Campus Chart
by Chris Burland
January 11th 2012
Toronto ON

Man, this record is a breath of fresh air in a month of hot dust-bowl winds. The debut album from this Ottawa-based group is a pure and perfect slice of 60s soul. Slim Moore is the reincarnation of 60s musical icon and taskmaster, Curtis Mayfield and that love for the Impressions-leader comes through on “How Long” which features a spoken-word intro akin to Mayfield’s Black Power anthem, “we’re a Winner” and Impressions album, This Is My Country. The album has social/political bite with “Is It Because I’m Black” and a compelling song about homelessness of sick people, “Cityscape.” There’s also some fine soul jazz action here with the instrumental “Mar-Kays’ Theme,” the seductive “Riverside Drive” and the juicy “Steppin’ All Over Me.” This is easily the surprise hidden gem of the year.

Exclaim! Magazine
by Kerry Doole
December 11th 2011
Toronto ON

Canada isn't exactly renowned for producing multitudes of cool soul records, but here's one we can be proud to claim. Gary "Slim" Moore is no novice, having been around since the '70s, performing with the likes of Gregory Isaacs and Yellowman (he's of Jamaican descent). This is the Montrealer's debut album and it concentrates on old school orchestral soul with a distinct '70s vibe. The full sound of the eight-piece Mar-Kays features a four-piece horn section, while the One Faith Gospel Singers and guest string players add to the widescreen sound. The album was recorded live on a vintage eight-track tape machine in a friend's basement and has a correspondingly warm vibe. Moore has a convincingly versatile and soulful voice, and it's in top form on Syl Johnson's Southern soul classic "Is It Because I'm Black," the only cover song here. Moore also co-wrote most of the material with multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Thibeaux Toussaint (aka Pierre Chretien of Souljazz Orchestra). Breezy instrumental "Mar-Kays' Theme" could be a cousin to "Grazin' in the Grass," while another instrumental, "Cool Breeze," lives up to its title. Forget the over-hyped Mayer Hawthorne and give this cat a listen. (Marlow)

UMFM Reviews
by Michael Elves
September 14th 2011
Winnipeg MB

Thibeaux Toussaint – a memorable name and a name to remember. That’s because, though the title introduces you to Slim Moore & The Mar-Kays, Toussaint’s fingerprints are all over this album. Producer, sleeve designer, co-writer (twelve of the record’s thirteen songs), multi-instrumentalist – he should be called a ‘run-assaince’ man for multiple lanes he’s racing in.

But as the title suggests, the main bill goes to Slim Moore and his incredible baritone. Without him these would just be some solid instrumentals, but his Pentecostal-practiced vocals are the epitome of soul – from a whisper to a scream, the man can deliver a melody.

Opener “Cityscape” (“Slim’s Theme” is just a teaser and a table-setter) stretches Moore’s vocal chords with its plaintive wails and its breakneck pace (set by the super-tight Mar-Kay rhythm section). The song sets a high bar that Moore and co. continue to clear again and again on the record.

Syl Johnson has been getting some deserved recognition thanks to the folks at Numero Group and hopefully folks who haven’t heard of Johnson or the label will seek their sweet box set out after hearing Moore’s epic cover of “Is It Because I’m Black.” Helping set it apart, the cover features an instrumental passage that highlights the horns, and Moore wrings a more muted tone than Johnson’s anguished original.

Speaking of original – the Johnson track is the only cover and all of the newly-minted material holds up along that stone cold classic quite nicely. Kudos to Moore, Toussaint and crew – after this introduction, everyone will want to get to know them better.

Captured Passion
by Alistair Maitland
November 17th 2011
Toronto ON

Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays @ El Mocambo

I must admit I had high expectations for this show... and I wasn't disappointed.

Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays is a soul group and project of one of my favourite bands, The Souljazz Orchestra based out of Ottawa, Ontario. Knowing this last fact made my attendance a sure thing. I used to dance three hours straight to Souljazz every Thursday for months at their mainstay, Babylon. So needless, to say, this review is a little biased. And I'm OK with that. The group was opening the fourth annual Nujazz Festival.

The Music

Gary "Slim" Moore and the crew definitely impressed. The music was tight, and the vocals stunning. This was the group's Toronto CD Release Party. Everybody was dressed to the nines. "Donny" the sound engineer did a great job with the levels. Mary Caruso, the only female of the group held her own easily against the musical backdrop of her seven male counterparts, opening the set with few tracks of her own. I had heard Mary sing many times before but having gone to the Yukon for the better part of 2 years, I hadn't heard her in a while. Now I don't know what she's been doing. That woman looked, sang and performed like a diva. Then Slim took over the lead vocals and belted it out with a passion only soul can create.

Special mention definitely has to go out to the Soul Motivators that opened for the headlining Mar-Kays. They got the crowd prepped and loose.

Randall Funk
November 1st 2011
Ottawa, ON

Canadian soul act, Slim Moore And The Mar-Kays, have just put out an album that easily keeps pace with any of the Brooklyn funk and soul groups that have emerged in the last ten or fifteen years from Soul Fire, Daptone, or Desco. The band has been steadily touring Canada, just recently finishing a record release tour for this album. Slim's deep soul voice is impressive (he's also backed up by a group of gospel singers). And his band, The Mar-Kays, consistently play some smooth vamping grooves with diverse instrumentation: piano, organ, trumpet, saxophones, congas, bongos, viola, violin, vibes, cello - even a glockenspiel. This is easily one of the best funk and soul albums to come out this year, measuring up to Charles Bradley's No Time For Dreaming or any Lee Fields effort of recent years - worth every penny. Check out the video for "How Long" and the samples from Juno.

Dusty Groove
August 2011
Chicago IL

One of the best new funk albums we've heard in years – and one that really does an amazing job of putting equal emphasis on instrumentation and deep soul vocals! Slim Moore comes across like some lost singer from the early 70s funky 45 generation – gritty and upfront, with a quality that's instantly infectious – almost like Syl Johnson during his Twinight years! Then the Mar-Kays play with this depth that's equally wonderful – mixing funky licks with more complicated soul touches – some of the vibes we've been getting from the Daptone scene in recent years – slower grooves mixed with faster ones, touches of hip instrumentation, like vibes – all wrapped up in a production style that really recalls the best days of indie soul. The whole thing's wonderful – a record we'd put right up there with Lee Fields' My World, or the Charles Bradley full-length – and a set we'll be digging for years! Titles include "How Long", "Cityscape", "Slim's Theme", "Reachin Higher", "Mar-Kays Theme", "Cool Breeze", and Help Me Now".

CD Baby Music Discovery
October 4th 2011

You could close your eyes and drop the needle on this debut album from Ottawa’s Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays and imagine that you’d dug it out of some dusty bin in the back of some second-hand record shop. But what a find! Slim himself sings like the soul of Otis Redding and James Brown are fighting for control of his vocal cords. And he’s backed up by one of the premier Afrobeat bands in the world — the Souljazz Orchestra, AKA for this project, the Mar-Kays. This was recorded entirely analog to an eight track tape machine, so grab the Vinyl version for audiophile, all-analog bliss.

Soul Tracks
October 15th 2011, USA
by Howard Dukes

There has always been a connection between Stax and Motown Records in the minds of hard-core music fans. Both labels played a pivotal role in crafting the sound of the 1960s and early 1970s. Stax and Motown became synonymous with soul and blues music. The artists of both labels went on to become household names. Still, Stax often languished in the shadow of Motown because the latter label had more of an eye on making music that could cross over. Stax’s biggest star, Otis Redding, died tragically right at the moment when he became Stax’s first crossover super star.

Of course, good music has a way of finding an audience, and the people at Stax made more than their share of good music. Other musicians were always aware of the label’s virtues, so it’s not surprising that the Stax influence can be heard in the work of artists ranging from Jamie Lidell and Anthony Hamilton to Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. The fact that Canadian soul man Slim Moore was also listening to the sound of Memphis becomes clear after one listen to Introducing Slim Moore & the Mar Kays. This record features all of the elements that earned Stax the well deserved nickname of Soulville.

The ultra-funky horns that were a Stax signature punctuate every song on Introducing. Moore’s throaty vocals move from being the prophetic social preacher on social commentary tunes such as “Cityscape,” “Just Can’t Get Ahead,” as well as the cover version of “Is It Because I’m Black.” He slips into a laid-back Virginia beach music groove on the cut “Riverside Drive,” and engages in a little begging on the Memphis meets hip-hop jam “How Long.” That number shows that Slim Moore & the Mar Kays can adapt the classic Stax sound to incorporate some contemporary production techniques. Still, Introducing Slim Moore & the Mar Kays stands as a full-throated celebration of the time and place that gave us some of the greatest music ever produced. And the tracks on this record hold their own with their lauded predecessors, both in terms of the feel and the quality. A very worthy introduction. Highly Recommended.

17 octubre 2011
Madrid España

Sin duda alguna Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays conforman una de las más agradables sorpresas de este año que no ha sido especialmente brillante en el ámbito de la música soul. Sin embargo, la propuesta de este grupo canadiense (en realidad un nuevo proyecto de Souljazz Orchestra) de sumergirse en la profundidades del sonido más crudo y apasionado de la música soul me ha seducido sin remedio.

Y es que cuando se combinan esa voz gutural a pleno pulmón del veterano cantante de raíces jamaicanas con una completa sección de metales y rítmica del grupo se obtiene una música robusta, ese soul desgarrador de Memphis (sonido Stax de raza) que se puede tener el placer de escuchar en contadas ocasiones. Se asoman las armonías del dulce doo-wop, la psicodelia y, cómo no, el soul más urbano de la década de los setenta. Al completo combo Mar-Kays (ocho miembros) se le unen en este trabajo hasta seis músicos de estudio más y las armonías vocales de One Faith Gospel Singers. Pasar de largo por este maravilloso trabajo sería un error imperdonable, nos propone ese sonido que te puede hacer llorar, bailar, y tirarte de los pelos, soul en definitiva que te toca al alma... ¿Te lo vas a perder?

le 8 septembre 2011
Paris France

Le Souljazz Orchestra qui mute en groupe à costard pour un album de soul orchestrée. Les fans du Black Moses Isaac, de Superfly Curtis ou de Bobby 110th Street en auront les larmes aux yeux.

le 6 septembre 2011

Et pour commencer peut-être la plus grosse nouveauté de cette rentrée : Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays. Derrière ce nom qui nous rappelle les plus belles années du label Stax, se cache en fait le groupe afro-funk Souljazz Orchestra accompagné d'un soulman d'origine jamaïcaine. Un disque soul de haute volée, avec une orchestration chiadée et un concept maîtrisé! On adore!

Magazine Soul Bag
par Franck Cochon
Septembre 2011
Paris, France

Le revival vintage qui sévit depuis quelques années offre désormais un large choix de productions actuelles à la saveur d'autrefois. Funk aux breakbeats furieux, soul 60's ou 70's, R&B inspiré directement par Detroit et sa Motown, il y en a presque pour tout le monde. Presque. Car celui qui aime déguster une soul richement arrangée, une soul orchestrée, avec des cuivres en trombe et des tapis de cordes, une soul avec un mix qui fourmille de détails – un piano, un vibraphone, un choeur féminin planqué – sans pour autant se faire engloutir par trop de sophistication; celui-là est bien malheureux. Il peut se rabattre sur "I Learned The Hard Way" de Sharon Jones et quoi d'autre? Sauf erreur ou omission, rien. Plus maintenant, plus depuis Slim Moore And The Mar-Kays. Jusqu'alors connus pour leur activisme afrobeat en pantalons bariolés, les Canadiens du Souljazz Orchestra se sont mués le temps d'un album en groupe de soul compact bien décidé à redorer un blason plus trop lustré depuis des décennies. Recrue de Slim, chanteur à la voix plus granuleuse que veloutée, ouverture de nouveaux postes dans la section cuivres, embauche de violonistes, les choses ont été faites en grand. Mais surtout bien. Car si les influences sont évidentes et assumées – Curtis Mayfield, en solo comme avec The Impressions, Isaac Hayes des ambiances cinématographiques, Bobby Womack –, la façon avec laquelle tout est assimilé pour nourrir des compositions originales comme pour ripoliner aux cuivres "Is It Because I'm Black?" de Syl Johnson, impose de fait Slim et ses Kays comme un challenger de taille pour les labels de Brooklyn qui ont fait de la soul et du funk vintage leur chose exclusive. Passer à côté de cet album serait une erreur. Grave en plus.

par Julien
le 16 septembre 2011
Paris, France

Vous qui avez été séduit par le combo Canadien Souljazz Orchestra, dont les shows sur-vitaminés et la section de cuivre en ont fait suer plus d'un(e), vous allez être content d'apprendre que ce sont les mêmes qui se cachent derrière ce projet, qui, pour faire court: dépote!

Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays viennent grossir les rangs du revival soul & funk auquel on assiste depuis plusieurs années déjà. Je vois déjà mes détracteurs souffler, il y a des dizaines d'orchestres qui sortent et flirte avec cette scène, un de plus, à quoi bon? Eh bien écoutez ça les amis, parce que si les foules ont accordées leurs violons sur les récents et justifiés succès d'Aloe Black, Sharon Jones et ses Dap Kings, ou encore cette farce de Ben l'oncle qui m'soule, je ne vois pas pourquoi mister Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays ne reprendraient pas le flambeau de cette sus-citée scène!

En trois passes décisives et un "smatch", voilà pourquoi je mise sur cette petite troupe de surdoués:

1/ Service & échauffement.

Roulement de caisse claire, et on démarre sur un titre mid-tempo d'où transpire une guitare wahwah. On croirait du Curtis Mayfield jusqu'au moment où Slim Moore attaque le micro. Là c'est plutôt du côté de Bobby Womack et de la BO de Across 110th Street qu'il faut lorgner. La solide rythmique basse/batterie roule solidement, et laisse l'espace à la section de cuivre, cordes, et vibraphones, de venir se présenter, tranquillement, laissant présager que le reste de cet album aux arrangements tout aussi "catchy" que "classieux", semble être une sacrée bonne surprise.

2/ Attaques diverses, ça monte au filet.

On continue, avec un Slim qui, avant d'être tombé dans cette marmite de "soul", fut apparemment un habitué des sounds systems de Montréal (le bonhomme est d'origine jamaïcaine). "How Long" pourrait démarrer comme un brulot hip-hop, mais c'est un virage digne d'Isaac Hayes, (période Hot Buttered Soul) que prennent le chanteur et son groupe. Choeurs féminins, cuivres & cordes en parfaites harmonies, c'est bien les "lascars" de Souljazz Orchestra qui sont à la manoeuvre. Ces gars là sont assez présents pour que Slim Moore ne soit pas relégué au rôle du chanteur Superstar, mais sont également assez "courtois" pour lui laisser la place qu'il mérite à certains moments. Le grain de voix (tout juste) rugueux qu'il possède, vous transporte directement dans les sessions du grand Syl Johnson, lors de ses années pour Twinight!

3/ Retours aux fondamentaux.

Puisqu'on parle de lui, justement, nous y voici: "Is It Because I'm Black", avec des arrangements sensiblement différents de l'original et un peu plus loin le "Mar-Kays' Theme", un instrumental qui sonne comme un morceau d'ouverture d'une "soul revue" à venir (tournée européenne du groupe au printemps). S'en suit un "Reachin' Higher" fiévreux, où riffs de cuivres & percussions nous rappellent aux bons souvenirs de "Mista President" des Souljazz Orchestra, cru 2007!

4/ Jeu, set & match!

Envie de danser, de crier, de savourer cette soul et ce funk du meilleur cru. Bien loin des productions qui fleurent parfois le plat réchauffé, les "cousins" canadiens ont misé sur un registre qu'ils maîtrisent à la perfection. Cet album qui se termine sur l'envoûtant "Help Me Now" ainsi qu'un instrumental aux effluves jazz funk, trouvera, j'en suis sûr, un public avide de cette soul venue du passé mais définitivement ancrée dans le futur!

A vous de jouer maintenant... La balle est dans votre camp il me semble!

Planète Jazz 91,9 FM
Septembre 2011
Montréal QC

Comme l'ont fait Sharon Jones et Lee Fields à New York, Slim Moore est un des dignes représentants canadiens du renouveau soul. Avec beaucoup de vécu, de cuivres et de sueur.

Copyright © 2012 Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays. All rights reserved.