Jackie Mittoo needs no introduction in the reggae world. He was a founding member of legendary ska heroes, the Skatalites and played a big part in the musical direction of Coxone Dodd’s Studio One record label. Jackie was master of the keyboards, with a perfect description of his style being jazzy dub organ. At it’s jazziest you could maybe describe it as cheesy, not a million miles away from a 70’s Hammond easy sound. But at his best he produced incredible tracks like Drum Song and Rocking Universally. The Drum Song riddim weaves and permeates through reggae’s musical history. One of Jackie’s most striking tracks is Ayatollah, a claustrophobic slice of dark dread. The track was released in the early eighties and perhaps the feel of the song mirrors the cold war, a time when nuclear threat was hanging over the world. Jackie was taken from us far too soon; he succumbed to cancer at the young age of 42. He is one of those artists that leaves you wondering what musical gems he would have produced had he lived.

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