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Blue Riddim Band

Ska Inferno
(Markosa Records)



The revival of the Blue Riddim Band has been one of this year's best surprises in the Kansas City music scene. The 30-year-old reggae-ska-dub collective is hard at work cooking up a vintage dub album to be released later this summer, but in the meantime they've given a proper release to Ska Inferno, a record that's been waiting in the wings for some time. With arrangements by Jack "Blacky" Blackett of songs like "Ska & Soda" and "Rosedale Ska" — plus a skanktified version of Paul Desmond's jazz classic "Take 5" — the disc veers away from the reggae that earned Blue Riddim the respect of the hardcore Rastas in favor of a sound more in line with the Skatalites. The original compositions are clearly the work of a band that knows the genre inside out. From the tightly arranged horn charts to the nimble bass lines and less-is-more guitars, Ska Inferno finds the Blue Riddim crew proving its skankin' mettle — and having a good time in the process. While most of the anticipation will center around the group's upcoming release, Ska Inferno also deserves its moment in the sun.

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