The Commotions
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The Commotions

Ottawa, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Ottawa, Canada
Established on Jan, 2017
Band R&B Soul

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Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

THE COMMOTIONS // VOLUME II

Some people let adages and axioms slide off their shoulders. Others recognize their essential wisdom and run with them. A sterling example of the latter is the Commotions, for whom the sage chestnut, “Go big or go home” acts as a kind of roadmap for navigating the way forward. 

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.

The Commotions features Rebecca Noelle, a respected singer/songwriter in her own right — see her dazzling Soulstice album featuring co-writes with Asselin, and her victorious turn on Quebec TV talent show La Voix. Noelle’s resume also lists performances on stages worldwide alongside Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy, to name a few. 

And there is co-lead vocalist Jeff Rogers (the Cooper Brothers), guitarist and co-songwriter David Gaw, bassist Ken Seeley, keyboardist Steve Boudreau, drummer Jeff Asselin, trumpeters Fred Paci and Ed Lister, trombonist Steve Berndt and baritone saxophonist Richard Page. 

Volume II’s guest list is just as starry, including (but not limited to) Philosopher King Jarvis Church, MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner, Juno-nominated saxophonist Petr Cancura, and Ottawa jazz great Mark Ferguson, who handled the album’s string arrangements.

The Commotions’ personnel may be head-spinning but the convergence of all that talent is pure, rump-shaking sonic joy. If the logistics of touring with (and feeding and housing…) 12 people are daunting, neither Asselin nor Noelle is letting on. Both insist live performance is where the Commotions soar highest and they are determined to take Volume II to audiences across Canada and beyond. 


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