Walk With Me (Moondust Records, 2013)
WWalk With Me is the latest album by legendary Jamaican band The Skatalites. It’s also the last recording done by original drummer Lloyd Knibb who passed away before this album was released. Walk With Me contains 11 vibrant tracks recorded as a tribute to all the members who have passed on over the years.
The new album includes new versions of classic songs and brand new compositions. The lineup features original alto sax player Lester “Ska” Sterling and vocalist Doreen Shaffer, together with newer members Azemobo “Zem” Audu on tenor saxophone; Andrae Murchison on trombone; Kevin Batchelor on trumpet; Val Douglas on bass guitar; Natty Frenchy on guitar; Cameron Greenlee on keyboards; Lloyd Knibb on drums; Trevor “Sparrow” Thompson on drums.
The Skatalites began performing in Jamaica in May 1964. The group was so exciting that their first rehearsal became a show. They were the top musicians on the island at the time, having come together after playing in different bands and on various recording sessions. These records were made to be played at the many competing sound systems around Jamaica.
The band became famous, backing all the upcoming artists of the time, such as Toots and The Maytals, Prince Buster and “The Wailing Wailers” featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. These artists were all recording a new style called ska, which had an irresistible rhythm that became very popular.
The fast-paced ska eventually slowed down into rocksteady, and then reggae. The Skatalites regrouped in 1983, and began regular touring as a unit in 1989.
Walk With Me presents a collection of engaging brass-fueled instrumental ska-jazz pieces by one of the essential bands from Jamaica.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.