The Skatalites were the first to occupy front-and-center position on the Ska stage, and even as the floorboards filled with fans-turned-musicians who hoped to bathe in the same glowing critical spotlight, they've easily stood their ground. That's due in large part to the presence of Don Drummond, trombonist extraordinaire and an all too typical example of the creative genius turned tortured, tragic figure. After being invited to join the Skatalites by pianist Jackie Mittoo, Drummond quickly became the creative center of the band, producing hundreds of well crafted songs in a nine-year period. The Skatalites took off when two of Drummond's songs placed them among the top of the British charts. A manic depressive who had spent years precariously placed on an emotional cliff overlooking an abyss of self-destruction, Drummond finally submitted to his mental illness in 1965, stabbing his girlfriend to death in his home. He spent the remaining four years of his life committed to an asylum, where he died under suspicious and much discussed circumstances at the age of thirty-seven.