Tommy McCook’s legacy lives on

316Reissue giants Pressure Sounds has recently put out another long lost gem – Tommy McCook’s instrumental set Reggae in Jazz, produced by noted producer Winston Riley’s brother Buster Riley and originally issued in scarce quantities on Eve Records back in 1976.

Ace saxophonist and arranger Tommy McCook was one of the original members of The Skatalites and during his long career he was instrumental in shaping the sound of ska, rocksteady and reggae. He supplied crisp horn lines for almost every premier producer in the 60s and 70s and founded The Supersonics as well as being a key member of bands such as The Aggrovators and The Revolutionaries.

On Reggae in Jazz his swinging and funky saxophone takes lead on a number of tracks, not every song though, since a few are organ and melodica lead. And don’t be fooled by the album title. The musical relationship with jazz is vague, or very vague. A more appropriate title would have been Reggae With Funk, since it’s funky to say the least.

The audio quality however leaves quite a lot to be desired, especially Bam Bam and Black Hat. The hi-hat sounds really terrible. Very unfortunate.

This is the second instrumental reggae album reissued by Pressure Sounds this year and hopefully this will start a trend, because instrumental reggae albums hasn’t been reissued to the same extent as, say, dub albums, which is a pity.

Reggae in Jazz comes with sleeve notes by noted reggae write Steve Barrow and is available on LP and CD. The latter carries two bonus tracks by The Mercenaries, one instrumental and one dub.

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