New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble
As the name implies, this band is essential listening for Ska fans with a taste for jazz, or jazz heads who like to skank. The idea is simple: take some classic jazz and R&B tunes and skank them up, with plenty of adventurous yet concise improvisation. And it works, thanks to some of New York's top Ska musicians. The result bears some similarities to the original Skatalites, who were jazz musicians themselves. Saxophonist Freddie Reiter, trombone Rick Faulkner and organist Cary Brown all contribute exuberant solos that veer between in-the-pocket R&B growls and Bop trickery. And Skatalites guitar player Devon James adds some visceral rock 'n' roll wail to the proceedings.