Jackie Mittoo: Hit-making keyboardist & arranger:
Jackie Mittoo is one of the most important artists in the history of
Jamaican music. As founding member of the legendary Skatalites, as in-house arranger/producer
at Studio One and as a solo artist in his own right leading groups such as The Soul Brothers,
Sound Dimension and Soul Vendors.
These classic and rare recordings were made in the mid-1960s at Studio One.
The Soul Brothers bridged the gap between Ska and the arrival of Rocksteady mixing
it all up with Funk, Jazz and Latin styles.
The Soul Brothers recorded at Studio One between 1965-1967. This was the transitionary period
between Ska and Rocksteady where the music was a mixture of Funk, Latin and Jazz sometimes with
a reminder of Ska and the hint of Rocksteady. The previous era of Ska had been dominated by the
Skatalites. The Skatalites were made up of Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore,
Lloyd Knibbs, Lloyd Brevett, Tommy McCook, Ernest Ranglin and Lester Sterling.
Formed in 1963, The Skatalites were the first in-house band at Studio One and created scores of classic
hits such as "Guns of Navaronne", "Man in the Street", "El Pussy Cat" and many more.
Unfortunately the strong personalities in the group meant that The Skatalites stayed
together for less than two years. It was also around this time that the mentally
unwell Don Drummond was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, the dancer
In August 1965, barely a week after the demise of the original Skatalites, The Soul Brothers, included ex-Skatalites members
Jackie Mittoo, Roland Alphonso, Johnny Moore and Lloyd Brevitt, were up and running
as the new house band at Studio One. Other members in this group included Wallin Cameron (guitar).
The Soul Brothers band was then essentially a collective, releasing material under their own name or
under the name, Sound Dimension. The group line-up changed over time with Bobby Ellis (trumpet), Brian Atkinson (bass),
Dennis Campbell (Sax), Harry Haughton (guitarist) and Joe Isaacs (drummer) replacing various members alongside the
ever present Jackie Mittoo. The Soul Brothers mix of musical styles is described as Ska, Jump-Up and Soul sounds.
The Soul Brothers started to forge a new sound that by 1967 had become known as Rocksteady, a slowed down funky version
of Ska. The main difference between the sound of The Skatalites and The Soul Brothers was the arrival of electric
instrumentation such as Jackie¹s organ as well as electric guitar on some tracks.
In 1967 Clement Dodd decided to take a group of musicians to England. Alongside the singers Alton Ellis and Ken Boothe,
he asked Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Lloyd Brevett, Bunny Williams and Errol Walters.
This group would be named The Soul Vendors. Shortly afterwards Jackie Mittoo recorded his first solo album "Jackie Mittoo
in London" with The Soul Vendors.
For the next three years Jackie Mittoo came into his own, as in-house producer and arranger
at Studio One, as well as his solo career. In 1968 he emigrated to Canada continuing to return
to Jamaica to record for Studio One. These early recordings show the roots of a sound that
Jackie Mittoo made uniquely his own.