Tommy McCook & the Aggrovators

Show Case

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Although probably best known for his role in the Skatalites, veteran Jamaican tenor sax player Tommy McCook was equally as important a presence during the subsequent rocksteady and roots era through his work with the Aggrovators, one of the dominant session bands of the mid-'70s. The Aggrovators were essentially producer Bunny "Striker" Lee's house band during this period, and Lee quickly realized the potential behind recycling backing rhythm tracks from the group, spinning off dubs, DJ toasts, and trippy jazz instrumentals (like the ones found here) from the same rhythmic foundation. Show Case is essentially a reissue of Trojan's Cookin', and has the same exact track list and sequence. The originals were recorded at King Tubby's in 1975 (engineered by the King himself), and although the album design suggests some hardcore roots dub plates, the sound is much more of a jazz dub hybrid, with McCook's sax lines snaking over ever-changing, echoing drums and basslines, while the Aggrovators' famous "flying cymbals" sound is featured prominently. When it all works, tracks like "Behold Dis Ya Dub of Class" take on an eerie, fractured, and disorienting grace, a bit like MOR jazz with a trippy, subversive foundation that is as fluid (and unpredictable) as water.

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