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  • 2 years ago
Celebrating the Best of Jamaica SKA with Alphanso Castro and Trevor Lopez

Celebrating the Best of Jamaica SKA with Alphanso Castro and Trevor Lopez

Ska marked the true beginning of Jamaican popular music, coming to prominence during the early and mid-'60s right around the time the island was granted its independence. Ska ensembles were generally a blend of electric instrumentation and horns most popular in jazz (saxophone, trumpet, trombone). Although structurally simple, ska has a bevy of influences, synthesizing American R&B, jump blues, Jamaican mento, calypso and other Caribbean styles, big-band swing, Afro-Cuban jazz, pocomania and other local religious folk music, and European ballroom dances. Of those, the first three -- R&B, jump blues, and mento -- were the most important building blocks. Jump blues tunes -- both sax-driven instrumentals and vocal numbers by artists like Wynonie Harris and Louis Jordan -- had become wildly popular at Jamaican dance parties, with sound-system operators making frequent trips to the U.S. searching for the hottest and rarest 45s. As R&B shifted into rock & roll, less crossover-ori

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