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Jackie Mittoo

Jamaican musician, writer and arranger it is frequently said that the development of Reggae music owes it?s biggest debt to his talent. Born in Kingston in 1948, he began to play piano professionally for local groups the Rivals and The Sheiks at the age of 14 and immediately came to the attention of Coxsone Dodd, who had recently set up his Studio One. Jackie began playing piano at recording sessions and along with some of the other regular session musicians decided to form their own group, The Skatalites. They invented Ska and modern Jamaican music was born. For the nest 2 years (64 ? 65) they reigned supreme, a true Jamaican supergroup despite their young age, recording a string of instrumental hits as well as providing musical backing for all the top singers on the island

In 1965 the group split up but Jackie and fellow Skatalite Roland Alphonso remained at Studio One and formed the Soul Brothers. They were the in-house band but as with the Skatalites they had a number of hits in their own right. For the next 3 years virtually everything recorded at Studio One was written, produced and arranged by Jackie and many of these tunes went on to be versioned by virtually every other Jamaican producer, a practice which still continues today, such was the enduring quality of his rhythms. He released a string of albums which all became classics such as Evening Time, Now, Keep On Dancing and Macka Fat. He was also leader of in house bands the Soul Vendors and the Sound Dimension

In 1968 he emigrated to Canada but for the next 20 years he regularly returned to Jamaica to record more songs for Coxsone Dodd and other producers such as Bunny Lee and Clive Chin. He also worked with Wackies in New York and with Sugar Minott?s Youth Promotions where the youngsters coming through the ranks held this elder statesmen of reggae in very high regard. He also released music on his own label in Canada. He sadly passed away in 1990 aged just 42.

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