The Skatalites

SKATALITESOfficially formed in 1964, the musicians that would come together as the Skatalites under the banner of Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One house band backing nearly every singer of the day including Stranger Cole, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Toots and The Maytals, Delroy Wilson, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff. The music they created almost single handedly founded the Jamaican recording industry. This of course would begat the music Reggae that is found on nearly every continent on the planet today.

The band fronted by Tommy McCook on Tenor Sax, backed by the drum & bass tandem of Llyod Knibb and Lloyd Brevett respectfully and supported by the likes of Alpha Boys School alumni Don Drummond, Lester Sterling, Roland Alphonso, Juhnny “Dizzy” Moore, Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes and Jackie Mittoo. The band lasted less than 2 years as a collective but the musicians would go on to work with every major producer including Duke Reid, Vincent Chin, Justin Yap and more as the music moved into the Rocksteady sound and then Reggae.

Then in the late 70’s, English two-tone revival groups like The Specials, Madness, The Beat, and The Selecter turned their love of Trojan Records, Stax Soul and the new Punk scene into their own style of music. Taking more inspiration from the Rude Boy image of Peter Tosh and harking even further back to the early Jamaican Ska beat they kept the music alive creating a renewed demand for the sound of the Skatalites.

Soon after their ‘83 reunion at the Reggae Sunsplash Festival American bands influenced by them and others that had picked up the sound including Fishbone (Los Angeles) and The Toasters (New York) started popping up across the nation. Bands such as The Slackers, Hepcat, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt and others all credit The Skatalites as a primary influence.

From the start, The Skatalites changed Jamaican music forever and continue to influence new bands as they tour around the world.

They headlined the 2012 tour.

Current Members:
Lester Sterling – alto saxophone
Doreen Shaffer – vocals
Azemobo “Zem” Audu – tenor saxophone
Andrae Murchison – trombone
Kevin Batchelor – trumpet
Val Douglas – bass guitar
Natty Frenchy – guitar
Cameron Greenlee – keyboards
Trevor “Sparrow” Thompson – drums

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Check out tour dates at www.bandsintown/skatalites

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