On Friday February 24, 2017, The Skatalites returned to Brooklyn to play at Brooklyn Bowl. Having been a Skatalites fan since the early 90's when I first began listening to ska in South Florida, I only became familiar with the band's music from burned CDs. Remember those? It was basically a mixtape on CD - and no, I'm not talking about the type of albums that Chance the Rapper releases. Of course, burned CDs didn't have a track listing, so I didn't know many of the song names, I just knew that this jazz-infused reggae was different than anything I'd ever heard.
Little did I know then that ska music actually came first and was rooted more in Caribbean calypso and jazz: an integral part of ska. I think it's important to note that ska came before reggae, because most reggae does not contain horns and is slower than ska, and that reggae is on the down beat while ska is on the up beat. Either genre makes use of guitars, bass and both have pianos and organs. Making the distinction shows the differences, even though now, reggae is used to encompass almost all music from Jamaica, and then classified into sub-genres.
Written By: Brian WInters
On the second night of their two-show stint at Brooklyn Bowl, Toots & The Maytals nearly brought the house down in front of a jam-packed Williamsburg crowd. At 73 years young, Toots Hibbert exhibited his joyous energy, and had the audience roaring at every turn, rattling off one hit after the next.
The evening kicked off with Selectress Iriela spinning vintage roots reggae hits from her to die for collection of vinyl. Easing the crowd into a reggae rhythm, the NYC-based DJ and producer played classic tunes from the likes of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Don Carlos, Half Pint, Yellowman, Ini Kamoze, Junior Reid, and Sister Nancy.
With the Bowl now thoroughly packed, Selectress Irie made way for Toots' band to enter the stage. The band jammed out for a few minutes before Toots' daughter Leba joined them on stage to sing a pair of songs. Anticipation at it's highest level, Toots finally scurried out from the green room and in front of the microphone, drawing an enormous cheer from the Brooklyn crowd.