Eastern Standard Time

Second Hand

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Ska itself started out as a Jamaican take on R&B, but most of the first ska musicians started out as jazzheads. That's why the Skatalites sounded so often like a cross between Booker T. and the MGs and the Jazz Messengers. The latter-day old-schoolers in Eastern Standard Time have done enough homework to know that a few jazz standards are an essential part of any traditional instrumental ska album, and they've done enough market research to know that very few people want to sit through an entire album's worth of ska instrumentals, so they've brought in some great ringers -- notably former Toaster Coolie Ranx on the DJ extravaganza "Mad Dog," and Ele Jai and Chuck Brown for a rendition of the perennial favorite "Housewives' Choice." The rest of the program is made up of top-quality instrumental ska, never too fast, always hopping from foot to foot with that sweet, elastic groove. The originals are good, and the covers of tunes by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk are even better. Highly recommended.

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