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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

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Skatalites
From Paris With Love
World Village

By MICHAEL STONE

Published May 30, 2006

A seminal force in Jamaican popular music, the Skatalites innovated the inimitable ska sound comprising the rhythmic and melodic foundations of reggae. Tapping the bagatelle influences of Jamaican mento, Trinidadian calypso, Cuban rumba, South African township and North American film scores, jazz and R&B in the 1960s, inspired by Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Ernest Ranglin, Ken Boothe and other island music legends, the band forged the brassy syncopated groove whose spirited “riddims” continue to move audiences today. This tight, tasteful Paris studio set rocks from start to finish, worthy introduction to a band that continues to make timeless music from the combined talents of first-generation members Dizzy Moore (trumpet), Lloyd Knibb (drums) and Doreen Shaffer (a voice still mellow as 18-year-old Jamaican barrel-cured rum) with those of sundry veterans and young turks. Be it a send-up of Miriam Makeba’s “Pata Pata,” film themes like “From Russia With Love” and “The Guns Of Navarone,” a fluid retooling of the rumba “El Cumbanchero,” or a revived Rastafari chant, “Glory To The Sound,” the Skatalites retain a lock on the sublime.

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