The Skatalites are a Jamaican music group that played a major role in popularising 'ska', the first truly Jamaican music created by fusing 'boogie-woogie blues', 'rhythm and blues',
The Skatalites are a Jamaican music group that played a major role in popularising 'ska', the first truly Jamaican music created by fusing 'boogie-woogie blues', 'rhythm and blues', 'jazz', 'mento', 'calypso', and African rhythms. They recorded many of their best known songs, including 'Guns Of Navarone', in the period between 1964 and 1965, as well as played on records by 'Prince Buster' and many other Jamaican artists.
The founding members of the group were 'Tommy McCook', 'Roland Alphonso', 'Lloyd Brevett', 'LLOYD KNIBB', 'Lester Sterling', 'Don Drummond', Jah Jerry Haynes, 'Jackie Mittoo', 'Johnny Moore', 'Jackie Opel', and 'Doreen Shaffer'. Trombonist Drummond's composition, 'Man In The Street', entered the Top 10 in the United Kingdom. He was not only the Skatalites' busiest composer, but was the most prolific in all of Ska, with at least 200 tunes to his name by 1965.
On January 1, 1965, Drummond was jailed for the murder of his girlfriend, Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood, and in August that year, the Skatalites played their last show. The break-up resulted in the formation of two supergroups, 'Jackie Mitto And The Soul Brothers' (Later the 'Soul Vendors' and finally 'Sound Dimension') and 'Tommy McCook and The Supersonics'. Drummond died in the Bellevue Asylum on May 6, 1969 at age 37.
In June 1983, the Skatalites reformed for a reunion performance at the Sunsplash festival in Montego Bay in July. Between 1985 and 1988, the core members of the Skatalites emigrated, and eventually coalesced in the northeast of the United States. They played their first U.S. concert at "The Village Gate", and did their first U.S. tour in January, 1990. The Skatalites continued touring the U.S., and did their first tour of Europe in 1992.
In January 1996, the Skatalites was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of "Best Reggae Album" for their 1995 Shanachie release, 'Hi Bop Ska'. They were again nominated for a Grammy Award in the same category for their 1996 Shanachie release, 'Greetings From Skamania', in January 1997.
The Skatalites began their first World Tour in February 2002, covering the United States, Europe, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Japan, which lasted nine months.
In 2003, the group comprised Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Doreen Shaffer, Lester Sterling, 'Cedric 'Im Brooks', 'Vin Gordon', 'Devon James', 'Ken Stewart' and 'Kevin Batchelor'.
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