July 28, 2015

Western Standard Time | A Big Band Tribute To The Skatalites, Vol. 2

ARTIST: Western Standard Time
TITLE: A Big Band Tribute To The Skatalites, Vol. 2
LABEL: self-released
Have you ever listened to the Skatalites’ original 1964-65 ska sides and wondered what they’d sound like with twice as many musicians in the band? Here’s your answer. Western Standard Time is a truly big band (20-plus players at a time, about 40 in total on this album) based in Los Angeles, organized by Eitan Avineri, Brian Dixon and Brian Wallace, focusing on mid-60s Jamaican ska. And these guys aren’t just playing Drummond, McCook and Alphonso’s famous riffs in unison; the arrangements by alto saxophonist Benny Golbin are clever and nimble, ensuring that the band swings and doesn’t plod. There are guest vocals by Angelo Moore of Fishbone (track 8, a highlight) and others, but the heart of the matter are the jazzy instrumentals, just as was the case for the band that inspired this project. Tracks 1, 3, 5 and 7 are all classics from the Skatalites book and they’re given readings that are irreverent and still respectful (the epic “Exodus” intro on 5 will crack you up). Big ups especially to drummer Korey “Kingston” Horn (Aggolites) and percussionist Fredo Ortiz (Ozomatli, Beastie Boys) for nailing Lloyd Knibb’s buru riddims. A fun time for all.
TOP TRACKS:    1    3    5    7    8
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    4    6    9    10    12    13

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