Jackie Mittoo, organ and piano maestro, was also one of the founding
members of Jamaica's top session band The Skatalites. Musical arranger for Studio One
he provided the backbone to so many of Jamaica's finest tunes. The invention of Ska music
and the sounds that rode through the Rocksteady and Reggae period all carry his stamp.
Whether it be in his various incarnations, the aforementioned Skatalites, The Soul Brothers,
Soul Vendors and the Sound Dimension or under his own name, his distinctive organ and
piano sound and musical arrangements have all played a major part in Jamaica's musical history.
Jackie Mittoo (born 1948, Kingston, Jamaica) began playing musical instruments at a very
early age. Taught piano by his grandmother he was performing live by the age of 10 and
recording by the age of 15. Two Kingston bands that he played with the Rivals and the
Sheiks brought him to the attention of Studio One's founder Coxsone Dodd. Who at the
time was putting a group of musicians together to be his studio band. Impressed by his skills
on both the organ and the piano, Jackie was asked to join in what would become Jamaica's
foremost band The Skatalites. The fellow band members were Lloyd Brevett (bass),
Lloyd Knibbs (drums), Don Drummond (trombone), Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso
and Lester Sterling (Sax), Johnny Moore (trumpet), Jah Jerry (guitar) and Mr Mittoo (piano).
This line up ruled the Jamaican scene between 1964 - 1965 as well as inventing the Ska
sound, they also performed the backing duties for the other top labels of the time including
Duke Reid's Treasure Isle and Justin Yap's Top Deck label.
TOMMY McCOOK & FRIENDS
NINEY THE OBSERVER