Various Artists

Music Is My Occupation

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Trojan Records' Music Is My Occupation showcases some of the tightest, jazz-tinged instrumentals producer Duke Reid recorded from 1962-1964. Many of Jamaica's best ska-era studio musicians are featured, including trombonist Don Drummond, tenor saxophonists Tommy McCook, and Roland Alphonso, as well as trumpeter Baba Brooks; these four made up the core of the renowned Skatalites band while McCook would go on to head up Reid's rock steady studio band the Supersonics. Drummond's fluid, full-toned trombone work is one of the highlights here, especially on both the title track and his incredible original "Green Island." Alphonso and McCook come up with fine solos of their own on "River Bank, Parts 1 & 2, and Brooks contributes some decent trumpet work on "Guns Fever." While the many cool-toned, behind-the-beat solos here are inspired by Stateside-jazz great Lester Young, the breathy, smokey-toned choruses played by all the horns seem wholly Jamaican. In spite of the rough sound quality of some of the tracks, Music Is My Occupation is one of the better ska instrumental collections available. For even more great examples of ska sans the vocals, look for Trojan's Shufflin' on Bond Street and Heartbeat Records' two-disc set Ska Bonanza.

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