The Skatalites

w/s/g The Big Takeover

Featured Shows

Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 8:00 PM


$17 adv / $20 door

From the start, The Skatalites changed Jamaican music forever. The creation of ska—the father of rocksteady, the grandfather of reggae—gave us eternal rhythms that now infiltrate the globe.

The Skatalites brought together the top musicians and styles of the time—fusing boogie-woogie blues, R&B, jazz, mento, calypso, and African rhythms—to create the first truly Jamaican music: ska.

Officially formed in 1964, the musicians who made up the original Skatalites had been playing together as a studio band for the greatest producers around: Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Vincent Chin and Justin Yap — in various combinations since the 50’s.

Early Studio One recordings were the first ‘Skatalites’ songs, including “Simmer Down” for Bob Marley (his first #1 Jamaican hit). Most releases were first-takes; essentially live. The ‘house band’ was, by demand, impeccable.

As set musicians, The Skatalites backed the top singers of the day. Stranger Cole, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Toots and The Maytals, Delroy Wilson, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff are but a few who benefited from the tight rhythms cultivated by the new ska collective.

In the late 70’s, English two-tone revival groups like The Specials, Madness, The English Beat, and Selector kept the beat alive and well. Then, in the 80’s (and ever since), their American counterparts spawned a ‘third wave’ and beyond… Groups like The Slackers, HepCat, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt, David Hillyard and The Rocksteady 7, The Toasters and King Django, all pay tribute to The Skatalites as a primary influence. This new generation have collectively opened for and played with The Skatalites, raising awareness and maintaining the fan base for a never-ending wave of ska.

In June 1983, The Skatalites reformed and played Reggae Sunsplash festival in Montego Bay in July. Their show was very successful[citation needed] and the band played more concerts in Jamaica while taking offers to tour abroad. Their rehearsal sessions resulted in a clutch of new songs which were recorded in Music Mountain Studio but only released in 2007 on Motion Records (as 'Rolling Steady: The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions').

In April 2003, The Skatalites returned to the studio with Toots Hibbert to record a contribution to his new album, True Love. They recorded "Never Grow Old" with Terry Hall and U-Roy. The album subsequently won a Grammy in 2004. In March 2004, The Skatalites announced the beginning of their 40th Anniversary tour.

Today, the Skatalites play on, with the current lineup consisting of:
» Lester Sterling – alto saxophone
» Doreen Shaffer – vocals
» Azemobo “Zem” Audu – tenor saxophone
» Andrae Murchison – trombone
» Kevin Batchelor – trumpet
» Val Douglas – bass guitar
» Natty Frenchy – guitar
» Cameron Greenlee – keyboards
» Trevor “Sparrow” Thompson – drums




*Times listed are when doors open. Music typically begins one hour later. Prices listed are for tickets only, an additional $5 door charge may apply for those under age 21 at our 18 and over shows.



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