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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

Rico Rodriguez & Roots to the Bone Band

By Tom Orr
Published March 16, 2007

Togetherness
Delanuca 45132

Foundational Jamaican trombonist Rico Rodriguez has been displaying his virtuosity from the dawn of ska until now, making a particularly big splash in the U.K. the last few decades. Younger listeners may have first heard him through his work with revivalists like the Specials, though he’s also worked with such non-ska outfits as Jools Holland’s Big Band. His own albums have been smoky meldings of reggae, ska, jazz and dub embraced by fans of all those genres. Recorded live in Buenos Aires in 2000-2001, Togetherness features Rico backed by a sparkling band of South American players on a selection ranging from classics like the Skatalites’ “Eastern Standard Time” to crowd pleasers identified solely with Rico (“Jungle Beat,” “Ramblin’”). Heartbeat Jamaican rhythms slow, fast and in between underpin extended jams, traded solos and dubby interludes adding up to a generously irie 77 minutes. A first-rate showing from a humble master.