Dub/Ska

Jazz music community with review and forums

Dub and Ska are two related forms of Jamaican music that have always had a close association with jazz and fusion. Ska arose in the early 60s and involved the intersection of American RnB and Caribbean rhythms. Many professional ska musicians were out of work Jamaican jazz musicians who brought their jazz background and sensibilities to ska recordings. The highly influential Skatalites are a good example of an early jazzy ska band.

Dub is reggae music stripped down and re-mixed into mostly instrumental tracks in which individual instrumental parts are constantly shifting in and out of the mix. Dub style mixing has had a huge influence on modern groove based music and can show up in almost any genre. Modern jazz and fusion musicians have often gravitated towards dub as a style to work with and solo over. Some well known dub fusion musicians include Bill Laswell, Jah Wobble, Graham Haynes and Nils Petter Molvaer. Originators of the dub approach include King Tubby, Sly and Robby, Prince Jammy and Scientist. In the jazz and fusion world, dub has been a major influence on nu jazz and acid jazz.

dub/ska top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

BILL LASWELL Invisible Design Album Cover Invisible Design
BILL LASWELL
4.67 | 3 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
BILL LASWELL Baselines Album Cover Baselines
BILL LASWELL
4.62 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
JAH WOBBLE Heaven & Earth Album Cover Heaven & Earth
JAH WOBBLE
4.48 | 3 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
EKSTASIS Wake Up and Dream Album Cover Wake Up and Dream
EKSTASIS
4.50 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
THE SKATALITES Ska Authentic Album Cover Ska Authentic
THE SKATALITES
4.50 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
THE SKATALITES The Legendary Skatalites In Dub Album Cover The Legendary Skatalites In Dub
THE SKATALITES
4.50 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
AUGUSTUS PABLO East Of The River Nile Album Cover East Of The River Nile
AUGUSTUS PABLO
4.50 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
MATERIAL Hallucination Engine Album Cover Hallucination Engine
MATERIAL
4.41 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
BILL LASWELL Imaginary Cuba Album Cover Imaginary Cuba
BILL LASWELL
4.33 | 3 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
THE SKATALITES Rolling Steady The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions Album Cover Rolling Steady The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions
THE SKATALITES
4.25 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
THE SKATALITES Heroes Of Reggae In Dub Album Cover Heroes Of Reggae In Dub
THE SKATALITES
4.25 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
BILL LASWELL City of Light Album Cover City of Light
BILL LASWELL
4.25 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

dub/ska online videos

dub/ska New Releases

dub/ska Music Reviews

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) I Just Can't Stop It

Album · 1980 · Dub/Ska
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
The Beat, or The English Beat, as they were known in the states, were a musical super nova that burned bright for about four years and then abruptly broke up while they were still successful. Sporting a mix of Caribbean rhythms and punk rock energy, they were a natural to ride the ska revival of the early 80s, but The Beat was always way more than ska imitator wannabes. With at least three band members with bona fide reggae/ska musical roots, The Beat had an authenticity and natural nimble grace to their music that was not matched by their counterparts in the two tone movement. All of this was on full display when they released their opening opus, "I Just Can't Stop It", one of the best dance-able art pop albums in the 80s or in any decade.

In a manner similar to other rhythmically kinetic groups such as The Meters or the JBs, everything great about The Beat starts at the drum set and works its way forward from there. Everett Morton is one of the most overlooked innovative drummers in contemporary music. His ability to play syncopated Caribbean rhythms at break neck tempos made The Beat an irresistible sonic force. Add to that beat foundation a driving dub style bass, two interlocking guitars and Saxa's melodic Jamaican horn lines and you have a rich sonic tapestry. The icing on the cake was the duo vocals of Englishman Dave Wakeling and the Jamaican toasting and harmonies from Ranking Roger which gave The Beat a broad pallet of vocal deliveries.

The icing on the icing is the fact that these guys could write great songs and lyrics that were often either politically clever or sardonically dismayed with relationships. On "I Just Can' Stop It", they also include some creative covers that blend well with their originals. THere are no bad cuts on here, but if you are looking for the high energy barn-burners, try "Click Click", "Noise in this World" or "Two Swords".

PRINCE JAMMY Kamikazi Dub

Album · 1979 · Dub/Ska
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
If you ask most lovers of Dub music, what was the album that got them started, or what is still their favorite album, there is a very good chance they will pick Prince Jammy’s classic “Kamikaze Dub”. Jamaican Dub music first appeared in the mid-70s under the guidance of the creative master mind, King Tubby. By the late 70s, two of his top co-workers, Scientist and Prince Jammy were ready to branch out on their own, and they did. Both Jammy and Scientist were poised to take dub to a whole new level, but Jammy’s record came out first, and that’s why “Kamikaze Dub” is often cited as the album that raised the bar for good. After its release, many Jamaican producers aspired to create the same swirling psychedelic sound that Jammy presented on these near perfect tracks.

This music has aged very well, there is a certain economical neatness on here that implies the digital age, but this was all done painstakingly by hand towards the end of the analog era. This is truly a labor of love as each echo and phase shifter is placed logically, no gratuitous tacky effects mar the final product. The intelligent choice of effects adds to the quality of ‘Kamikaze’, I’m not sure if they were using the new Electro-Harmonix small stone phase shifter, but it sure sounds like it, or something similar. The musicianship on here is outstanding as well, with other Dub stars taking part such as Sly and Robbie on drums and bass, Augustaus Pablo on keyboards, Headley Bennett and Bobby Ellis on horns, as well as many others. The bright effects treated piano and organ parts that borrow from art rock and classical music are often the icing on the cake.

As mentioned earlier, when “Kamikaze Dub” came out in 1979, it became the gateway drug for many a future dub addict. At that time, Miles Davis had retired his psychedelic fusion band, and psych-rock pioneers, Pink Floyd, were slipping into corporate sludge, the time was right for something new, and Price Jammy hit the spot.

SLY AND ROBBIE Language Barrier

Album · 1985 · Dub/Ska
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Matt
In 1985 Island Records released Sly and Robbie’s first foray to be recorded with Reggae placed as an influence and not the major component within the recording by bringing a digitalised funk and Hip Hop sound to the recordings fore front. Looking back today when one listens closely to “Language Barrier” you realise just how far in front of the pack they were running. Afrika Bambaata, had only been known for three years with a complete new genre of music still in its infancy being Rap and Hip Hop which was still facing more criticism than appreciation except within the younger music community and not content with just Afrika Bambaata the imitable Doug E. Fresh with his own sounds being the human beat box even took things to another original level. As well, we had another fairly new artist making quite a name on the scene for himself being the Producer and bassist Bill Laswell who was currently with his band Material back in 1985 bringing already a diverse original anything goes approach with his take on creating modern music. Wally Badarou is also present on synthesizer, Herbie Hancock, Robbie Lyn and Bernie Worrell are also included supplying keyboards and piano. Manu Dibango on sax, Daniel Ponce, congas, Bernard Fowler, backing vocals and vocals, Eddie Martinez, Pat Thrall, Mike Hampton, Mikey Chung and Barry Reynolds all supplied guitar at various stages from Funk, Jazz and Rock and talking about Rock, Bob Dylan even provides harmonica in the album.

During this period Sly and Robbie had not long finished recording Mick Jagger’s solo debut, “She’s The Boss” with Bill Laswell where many of these musicians came into contact. Some of the others had already been playing in the Compass Band which was Island Records studio band for many of their productions during this period with most of the band members originating from Jamacia and a Reggae background. Bob Dylan had not long before had Sly and Robbie provide support for his latest release “Empire Burlesque” with the most memorable song of the album recorded being Bob’s second shot at “When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky” containing Sly’s electric drum kit and Robbie’s beautiful bass line. In addition to all this consorting Bill Laswell with a few of the artists mentioned above had just recorded Manu Dibango’s ,“Electric Africa” bringing Manu along to lend his superb saxophone with that gorgeous tone on various album tracks, found within “Language Barrier”.

Sly’s electronic drums open up with the Funk coming in quick, Manu Dibango’s sax is darting in and out, Wally’s synthesizer is whirling around and Afrika Bambaata are chanting “make em’ move, make em’ move” with additional verse lyrics and with three cracking guitar solos inserted with of course Robbie’s bass lines and the first number “Make Em’ Move” gets the album underway. “No Name On The Bullet” which follows is one rhythm worked over beautifully with Hip Hop added over a dub and an another album highlight which is followed by the Miles Davis composition “Black Satin” aptly named “Miles” within the album’s track listings with more fabulous rhythm employed as the bed rock , two fabulous drum leads from Sly, more Synthesizer and guitar, a keyboard loop that just keeps repeating and one quite distinct take was created. “Bass And Trouble” is the first on the flip with Manu Dibango providing quite a nice solo and input over more electronics used for the rhythm with Doug E. Fresh doing his sound effects, Wally’s synthesizer is back, Mike Hampton is putting in the Funk guitar and Sly and Robbie are once again a stunning back bone to it all. The rhythm just keeps pounding along for the title track “Language Barrier” with Doug back rapping effects and even more funk lines from Mike Hampton’s guitar. Of course funk finishes the album up with quite a catchy “ Get To This, Get To That” and here we get to hear Bernard Fowler singing lead over more of a seventies style take albeit it is laced with electronics.

It did not receive the recognition that this album deserved when it was released garnering quite a mixed reception but if one looks back with today’s view point you will notice these musicians are light years ahead or right on the cusp if you prefer. Myself personally I love the use of the electronic kit that Sly Dunbar played and how he used the full electronic sound with Robbie’s pumping bass providing the support and Bill Laswell’s production. Their next similar album “Rhythm Killers” which garnered a much better reception is perhaps better played and mixed but “Language Barrier” was a more original album and who else would rush in and get that new Rap stuff included, although at this time it was really not all that new for the Rhythm Twins as they had been doing Jamaican Dancehall for around 7 to 8 years by then, “Yep, they were light year s ahead”.

SLY AND ROBBIE Dubrising

Album · 2014 · Dub/Ska
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Matt
Last time the Dub was underwater but this year it is rising with the latest Dub offering from the Rhythm Twins. I could go on for hours about these two who have appeared with everybody at some time or the other and if they have not appeared with them then they most likely Produced their album. Still Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have always kept those Jamaican Roots to the forefront within their own music and releases while still staying contemporary in the genre at the same time. After all it was Sly and Robbie who were the main movers toward digital within the Reggae scene back in the eighties and like it or not it is here to stay with the introduction of Dancehall and Ragga but with “Dubrising” it 100% good old Dub.

Paul “Groucho” Smykle is the man behind the mixing board who has not worked with Sly and Robbie for nearly 30 years when he mixed their two earlier albums “Raiders of the Lost Dub” and “Dub Experience”. The tracks from the album were picked by Groucho using Sly and Robbie’s prior Productions from Horace Andy, Chezidek, Bunny Rugs and Khalifa between 2006 to 2012 bringing quite a modern feel but still staying right at the Old School. The instrumentals were recorded live at two studios in Kingston. Dan Donovan from Big Audio Dynamite added synthesizer and Bunny McKenzie added dread harmonica. No Protools were used as Groucho mixed it live to bring that old feel of how it was done back in those Lee Perry and King Tubby days during the seventies where if things did go wrong, it was start again and not just a quick patch up.

The dubs themselves come through beautifully with a mix of tempos throughout the rhythms used with all the reverb and echo employed and as heard on “Satan Fall” and the 2nd Dub “Freedom Ring”. The synthesizer provides a little more fill bringing a good fresh quality and is quite a nice touch. “Drone Snipers” motors along with a great echo and vocal remnants with the addition of Bunny McKenzie playing his dread harmonica. There are plenty of sound effects with zaps and whirrs layered over great rhythms which keep up a nice rapid tempo for the majority of Dubs that follow. “To The Rescue" is laced with Synthesizer and vocal remnants put to echo, “No Surrender”, “Flame Thrower” with its effects and slightly slower tempo and then to finish the pumping bass of “Double Agent” which comes in last.

Wonderful new Dub album from Sly and Robbie with a wonderful sounding mix from Groucho.

FISHBONE Fishbone

EP · 1985 · Dub/Ska
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
If you're looking for the FISHBONE albums that contain ingredients of metal do not look here! Skip this debut EP and head straight to their 2nd full album release TRUTH AND SOUL. This is a jazzy funkified alternative ska trip here.

FISHBONE is one of those unique entities in music that really cannot be pigeonholed into any particular category or genre of music no matter how hard the critics try. First of all they are all African American musicians who eschewed the straight-on jazz, hip hop, R&B or soul that was popular in the 80s and instead chose all of the above (well except the hip hop I guess )and mixed in a healthy dose of ska and funk to create a unique sound making them one of the most original and eclectic alternative bands of the 80s.

This is most likely going to be a love it or hate it album for most. It will exhilarate or irritate. For me I love this EP from beginning to end. Its ingenuity, its utter contempt for obeying ordained trends in music, its in-your-face attitude and social critique, its zaniness and unexpected cleverness. All packed into a less than 30-minute EP. It is true that the production is not so great and FISHBONE albums are crying out for re-masterings but I tend to judge music by the songs themselves and give a little leniency to production unless its just ridiculously horrendous.

The track "V.T.T.L.O.T.F.D.G.F." stands for "Voyage to the Land of the Freeze-Dried Godzilla Farts", as confirmed on the band's website, and is about a government attempt to convince the public that Hiroshima was actually caused by Godzilla farting. The track "Party at Ground Zero" remains one of the band's most popular tracks which features aspects of a contemporary big band sound. “Lyin' Ass Bitch” is one of the most freakin' hilarious songs i've ever heard.

If you want some ridiculously original and outside-of-the-box music look no further than FISHBONE. They had the talent to mix different musical genres and twist them until they probably could be called a new musical genre if others followed suit. Inspirational, exploitational and gratifying!

dub/ska movie reviews

No dub/ska movie reviews posted yet.

Artists with Dub/Ska release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Dirigo Rataplan II Avant-Garde Jazz
DIRIGO RATAPLAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Oasis Post-Fusion Contemporary
LISA HILTON
Buy this album from MMA partners
Subtle Disguise Post-Fusion Contemporary
JOE LOCKE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Dave McKenna In Madison Swing
DAVE MCKENNA
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Sugar Daddy
MACY GRAY
js· 12 hours ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us