||Re-issue of 1976 album for the first time on CD with two bonus tracks added and also re-released as LP-vinyl, produced by Buster Riley. Comes along with sleevenotes from Steve Barrow and excellent artwork from the original sleeve. All the tracks have been remastered - a thrilling release that is sought after by collectors!
Tommy McCook (3 March 1927 – 5 May 1998) was a Jamaican saxophonist. A founding member of The Skatalites, he also directed The Supersonics for Duke Reid, and backed many sessions for Bunny Lee or with The Revolutionaries at Channel One Studios in the 1970s. (Thanks to Wikipedia)
"Jazz has a long history in Jamaica and among Jamaican diaspora musicians. That history stretches from the all-Caribbean band assembled by Leslie Thompson in London in the mid-1930s - which included Jamaican-born sidemen like saxophonist and graduate of Alpha Boys School in Kingston, Bertie King, alongside fellow Jamaicans like alto saxophonist and clarinettist Louis Stephenson, saxophonist Joe Appleton, trumpeter Leslie 'Jiver' Hutchinson and pianist Yorke de Souza - right through to today’s players like the superb veteran guitarist Ernest Ranglin, the consumate pianist Monty Alexander and the younger set of musicians who make up the celebrated band Jazz Jamaica. Moreover, so many Jamaican musicians have been inspired by jazz, even if the music they made was firmly in the reggae genre. As late as the 1970s roots musicians like the melodica/keyboard player Augustus Pablo and the gifted guitarist Earl 'Chinna' Smith cited jazz as inspiration and legendary dub engineer King Tubby was a massive fan of jazz.
Buster Riley was born Stanley Leopold Riley on 27th January 1947 in Kingston, the fourth child of Mortimer and Ruby Riley. He was given the pet name ‘Buster’ because of his father’s love for former Jamaican political leader and Prime Minister, Sir Alexander Bustamente. Like his more celebrated brother Winston, he started out in music as member of a vocal group. Winston had founded the Techniques, Buster was for a time a member of the Sensations, the group founded by Martin ’Jimmy’ Riley [no relation], along with other members Cornell Campbell and Aaron ’Dego’ Davis. When the Sensations disbanded, Buster followed his brother into production, it was he who gave Dave Barker the 'vibe' to come up with the unforgettable “I.... am the magnificent....double o-o “ introduction for the massive hit “Double Barrel” at Joe Gibbs old studio in Burns Avenue, Duhaney Park, Kingston. According to Winston and Buster’s sister Beverley Riley, the relationship between the brothers was “complex, they argue a lot but if either was in trouble they would then come to each other for assistance”. Fairly typical of many siblings
Buster started his own label - ‘Mummy’- circa 1975, issuing 7” & 12” 45 rpm sides by Jackie Paris, Keble Drummond, Earth & Stone, Lincoln Grant, Marvin Brooks, Hopeton Lewis, and Sil Bell, as well as a solitary dub album and the "Back To Africa" set featuring Philip Frazer and Earth & Stone from 1978..The only other album produced by Buster is this current Tommy McCook reissue, on which the master saxophonist deploys his hard-edged sound over a variety of cuts, including a couple of entertaining forays into ‘funky‘ reggae, and a nice tenor sax excursion over the Techniques’ “Man Of My Word” rhythm. The original album also included a brace of organ instrumentals and a pair of melodica instrumentals, one of which was originally issued as the 45 ’Black Out’ on the Riley’s label and reissued - by Winston - on Techniques in the 1990s.
The connection with jazz is none too clear. As is often the case with Jamaican music while Jazz is often the jumping off point, what we have on this album is essentially a set of reggae instrumentals, a genre that sadly seems to have died out over thirty years ago, around the beginning of the 1980s. It's unlikely that 'Reggae in Jazz' was recorded as a 'whole' album. More likely there were a few sessions where the core of the album was recorded and then tracks were added to stitch together an album. Tracks and rhythms like 'Black Out' were borrowed from Winston Riley in order to make up enough tracks for a saleable album. Given the financial overheads of recording new tracks from the beginning its likely that tracks were begged or borrowed from brother Winston and wherever else rhythm tracks could be sourced. Tommy McCook would then have added his arrangements and blown over the tracks that Buster had been able to source. Notwithstanding this piecemeal approach, the better core tracks - such as 'Grass Roots', 'Wild Bunch' - have more in keeping with the Jazz-infused instrumentals from an earlier period. There is a level of musical dexterity and care gone into the production that confirms that Buster was both a capable and imaginative producer. Tommy McCook was an excellent musician and arranger and could be relied upon to deliver enough quality to give Reggae in Jazz a coherent and unified feeling that enhances McCook's proven abilities.
?For the CD, we have added "Beirut", an instrumental and dub version recorded at Channel One studio in 1976 by the Riley session group the Mercenaries.
As for the producer Buster Riley, he too faded from the music scene around that time, although his brother Winston continued on his path as one of the most successful reggae producers of all, a hitmaker from the 1960s until the 21st century. Buster Riley died on 19th April 2011, succumbing to cancer, tragically, Winston died 19th January 2012, having been in a coma since being shot in the head at his home in November 2011.
Reggae in Jazz has sleevenotes from Steve Barrow and excellent artwork from the original sleeve. All the tracks have been remastered and we are thrilled to have an album released on Pressure Sounds that is sought after by collectors and has never been available on cd before."