Mojo (UK)

Skatalites

Independen­ce Ska And The Far East Sound

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SOUL JAZZ. CD/DL/LP Cracking comp of the mid-’60s ska pioneers.

CIRCA ’63-’65, Studio One house band The Skatalites pretty much invented Jamaican music, forging the definitive sound of ska across hundreds of tracks, both alone on instrument­als, and together with ‘foundation’ singers including Lord Tanamo, Jackie Opel and the early Wailers. Their golden run was only halted when trombonist Don Drummond, whose minor-key ‘Far East’ sound brought moody complexity to ska’s pulse-racing celebratio­n of JA independen­ce, was sectioned after murdering his wife, and the combo dissolved. The Skatalites’ most beloved bangers have been anthologis­ed umpteen times, and there’s a handful here (El Pussy Cat Ska, Beardman Ska, Far East, the immortal Guns Of Navarone). Soul Jazz, however, breathe new life into these time-honoured hits by assembling them alongside recherché cuts such as Sudden Destructio­n (a rare showcase for trumpeter Dizzy Moore), and Drummond’s Coolie Boy, plus lively vocals from the raucous Bongoman Byfield.

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