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Skalsa # 1 by Skatroniks Jamaica

Skalsa # 1 by Skatroniks Jamaica

Skalsa # 1 by Skatroniks Jamaica

By on - 4 comments

If it’s good enough for Ranglin, it’s good enough for you.

Sampler

In 1974 in North West London keyboardist Clifton “Bigga” Morrison formed the group Spartans with “Crucial” Tony Phillips and a young deejay turned singer named Vivian Jones. Had his career ended at that point he would still be a vital figure in reggae lore.

Instead he went on to be a member of Aswad, Prince Fari's Arabs and Adrian Sherwood’s Creation Rebel, working with Maxi Priest and scores more artists during the 80s and 90s before becoming musical director of Jazz Jamaica. At the century's turn he split from the group and assembled his current outfit Skatroniks Jamaica. 6 years later their first album has been released (on Bigga’s SkaJam label) and it’s a master-class in creating authentic-sounding ska while blending it with its closely related forms.

Bigga (on keys and vocals) leads Don Chandler on bass, Kendrick Rowe and Tony Uter on drums and percussion, Alan Weekes on guitar, and Brian and Trevor Edwards and Jay Phelps on horns in an effortless display of rhythmic chops. Meanwhile engineer Curtis Lugay avoids the pitfalls of both playing up the roughness of the vintage ska sound (fetishising two track recording facilities) and going for a too slick easy listening feel.

And while this is a bona fide ska album (check the Don Drummond tribute via the Addis Ababa-reminiscent Flight To Ethiopia) there’s lots more besides in the mix. Pre ska shuffle boogie (the brilliantly titled Diurnal and Nocturnal) gives way to classic Aswad moodiness (Steppas) before an AfroCuban/Jamaican melange (the title track). We also hear the mid 70s “flying cymbals” (unflinching island celebration Walk In Jamaica) and the heartbeat grounation drumming on which all these forms are built (closer Yah-Soh).

But why trust this review when you have the word of none other than Ernest Ranglin to assess the album's worth? The father of modern Jamaican Jazz and cofounder of ska contributed his own scribbled sleevenotes praising every tune. Case, firmly, closed.

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Read comments (4)


Posted by Boddies on 07.20.2010
Ok, heard and seen the band. Didn't have chance to buy a CD at the show. So where can I buy a copy.

Posted by Fatty on 07.31.2010
The best Ska band, and the best Cd as well. I saw the Jazz Cafe gig last month, and was excelent!!

Posted by Jama Roots on 08.05.2010
Awesome! That CD become a Ska Classic before to be released.

Posted by caplis on 12.27.2010
I´m looking for the cd of Skatroniks Jamaica, I want to buy it but a REAL CD not a downloaded one..
If you can give me the name of some stores where I can buy it through internet it would be great!

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