When Jamaica became independent on August 6, 1962, ska music was playing in yards, dancehalls, and in recording studios as this new nation celebrated. It was a spirited music, full of promise, optimism, and energy and it was the perfect sound to showcase to the world. Now that Jamaica was independent, what better way to demonstrate the culture, beauty, and art of Jamaica than through ska, both as a music and as a dance. The Jamaican government, tourist and business industry, and newly developing music industry made it their mission to bring Jamaican music to the world, through events they termed Operation Jump Up. This is the story of that effort and how, for a brief time, ska rivaled the Beatles and the Twist.

Operation Jump Up is the culmination of four years of research. The detailed historical narrative features dozens of interviews with … More

Born OTD in 1946, Cuban-Jamaican singer, Rita Marley. “..When Beverly would travel to Studio One from Trench Town she says she and the Wailing Wailers would take a short cut through the Calvary Cemetary and pass Rita Anderson’s home…. Not only did Beverly help launch their career, but her connection also brought Rita Anderson and Bob Marley together. They were married on the 10th February, 1966.”

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty and machismo like Duke and … More

Born OTD in 1934, Gladstone ‘Gladdy’ Anderson. “Gladdy”, was a Jamaican pianist, keyboard player, and singer, who played a major part in the island’s musical history, playing a key role in defining the ska sound and the rocksteady beat, and playing on hundreds of recordings as a session musician, a solo artist, and as leader of Gladdy’s All Stars.

“..And I hear Gladdy Anderson who was on piano say, ‘this one rock steady, you know. This one a rock … More

Born OTD in 1943, saxaphonist with The Soul Vendors, (AKA Soul Dimension), & The Skatalites, Cedric “Im” Brooks. Brooks became a pupil at the renowned Alpha Boys School aged 11, where he learned music theory and clarinet. In his late teens he took up tenor saxophone and flute.

One of the most intriguing, eccentric and original musicians to emerge from reggae is Cedric ‘I’M’ Brooks, the tenor saxophonist … More

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty & machismo like Duke & King & Lord; where boastful ringleaders fired guns into the air after descending a throne carried by their legions of followers, bandoliers crisscrossing their chests, ermine on their shoulders; where violent gangs stormed dances to “mash up,” breaking sound system equipment & smashing bottles of beer on brick walls, how was a little girl with a sweet song in her soul to have a chance? Some Jamaican women found a way. They endured harassment & received little or no pay to perform as backup or alongside or in front of the male musicians.

They sacrificed family & home for a life in the spotlight, or they brought their babies with them on the … More

Back in stock after a long abscence, Heather Augustyn’s fabulous biography of Don Drummond. This is a comprehensive biography of a brilliant musician and his lover who forever shaped the course of ska, reggae, and popular music worldwide despite poverty, class separation, mental illness, racial politics, exploitation, and sexism that resulted in murder. Through the words of Don Drummond’s childhood friends, classmates, musicians, medical staff, legal counsel, and teachers, comes a first-hand story of his “unusual mind.”

They recall the early days in the recording studio, playing the instrumental backup for Bob Marley and others, and the … More

Born OTD in 1932, founding member of The Skatalites, Don Drummond. “Drummond entered Alpha Boy’s School when he was 9 years old… He demonstrated incredible proficiency on the trombone, a difficult instrument to master, and even at his young age during his school years, Drummond began to compose his own music”.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1939, Jamaican singer and record producer, Derrick Harriott. “..Prince Buster in his Cincinnati Reds baseball cap appears next singing ‘Wash Wash’ surrounded by other singers including Derrick Harriott & Carlos Malcolm who steps off his trombone for a few vocals on the mic. The Maytals perform next with ‘Treat Me Bad’..

Operation Jump Up is the culmination of four years of research. The detailed historical narrative features dozens of interviews with … More

Born OTD in 1936, Lester Sterling, AKA Lester “Ska” Sterling. Like many Jamaican musicians of his generation, Sterling attended the Alpha Boys School. Originally a trumpeter, he is predominantly known as a player of alto saxophone. Sterling is a founding member of The Skatalites. After The Skatalites originally disbanded in 1965, Sterling played with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and recorded several solo singles for the London-based producer “Sir” Clancy Collins.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1936, Jamaican pianist, Theophilus Beckford. “..Ellis further compounds what many have claimed was the turning point, when a slightly wonky shuffle beat became highlighted within the traditional 12-bar blues structure, paving the way for ska. The guy really start that off-beat thing, Theophilus Beckford.”

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More