It’s not just that the dapper Ottawa-based combo— 11 regular members plus a touring vocalist — has two lead singers, three songwriters, and a five-piece horn section featuring tenor and baritone sax, a pair of trumpets, and a trombone. Or that the guest line-up on their vibrant new album Volume II includes another 15 souls, among them some of the best musicians on the planet.
The Commotions write epic, sparkling, uncommonly skilled jazzy, funky soul/pop that, depending where you are on Volume II, conjure everything from Motown to Stax to Jake and Elwood. If this was the 1970s, The Sonny & Cher Show would be duking it out with Lola Falana to book the band for a marquee spot.
That’s not to say the Commotions are retro, exactly, though their forebears are well served by the band’s unparalleled musicianship and palpable enthusiasm. Rather, as musical director, producer, songwriter, and tenor sax ace Brian Asselin explains, the Commotions are more about reclaiming the spirit of soul that the beforementioned imprints — and the legendary artists on their rosters — championed.
Except, of course, the Commotions do it bigger.