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 1'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.
1965 saw The Skatalites disband, and Jackie Mittoo move on to his next musical project The Soul Brothers. Formed with fellow Skatalite Roland Alphonso,this band would back all the hits coming out of Studio 1 for the next three years with Jackie Mittoo working as band leader and musical arranger. Around this time Jackie also had his own single released, a Ska underground classic called 'Got My Bugaloo'. Rare, as it also features Jackie in the unusual role for him, as lead singer!!!!. 1966 saw the Ska sound evolve into Rocksteady, again with Jackie's band at the helm, and his first hit single the Rocksteady cut 'Ram Jam'. The success of which would lead to a solo career and album releases under his own name such as 'Now', 'Macka Fat', 'Evening Time', 'In London' and 'Keep on Dancing', to name but a few. In 1967 the hits at Studio 1 were still flowing when The Soul Brothers morphed into The Soul Venders and began backing such luminaries as Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, The Heptones, The Cables, The Wailers and many other of the label’s solo artists.
By 1968 Jamaican music was ready for another change and Rocksteady rolled into a slower groove soon to be called Reggae. Jackie Mittoo would be at the forefront with his latest band The Sound Dimension. A line-up that included Leroy Sibbles (bass),Roland Alphonso and Cedric Brooks (saxophone),Eric Frater and Ernest Ranglin (guitar) and Bunny Williams (drums). Being the house band at Studio 1 they backed all the leading names of the time, John Holt, Horace Andy and Alton Ellis, all of Studio 1's output carried his sound. Jackie Mittoo emigrated in the late 60's to Canada but travelled to Jamaica and London to record with many of the big new names, who were trying to redress Studio 1's supremacy and needed his magic touch. Such producers as Bunny Lee used Jackie Mittoo on many of his sessions,Sugar Minott among others were always glad of his services.
For this release we have put together a selection of some of his finest recordings done with legendary reggae producer Bunny Lee. 1970’s cuts that feature Jackie’s numerous talents, showing his ability to embellish tracks with a feel few could better. Musical arranger, band leader and all around studio ace.
We hope you enjoy this great set with Jackie Mittoo in fine style and his organ super powered indeed…