Last night’s show was anything but a quiet Tuesday for the sold out crowd at ‘16 Toneladas’. The audience danced, skanked, sang, clapped and revelled with this ensemble. Fronted by the charismatic leadership of saxophonist Rocksteady Freddie, the five member ensemble were precise while having a relaxed, playful vibe. And the fans really responded. Everyone pulsated to the grooves.

Their magic is revealed in the name, Ska-Jazz. A fresh departure from popularized ‘80s 2-Tone or 90s third-wave ska, these musicians find an enticing blend of jazz and ska. With Freddie’s sax and Ric Becker’s trombone front and center, the horns lead the melodies and their overall sound.

Early set song Love and Affection offered a straight reggae beat entering in a rousing round of crowd clapping mid-song, kicking up the heat that was ready a boiling fever.

Another jem was a slow dub-style version of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. Fully engaged, fans sang the iconic melody in vocal ease with the horns. A syncopated pause in the melody added originality. Guitarist Simone Amodeo crafted a tasty spaced-out solo, effortlessly demonstrating really great guitar work.

One of their earlier recordings, Joelle captured classic ska sound with that infectious beat and poppy melody that kept everyone dancing. Then a killer version of Charlie Mingus’s Boogie Stop Shuffle, taking us back to a time of cool, ‘50s jazz. As the improvisation went wild, the horns worked in the ‘60s TV theme song Spiderman melody before bringing it back home. But not before keyboardist Mario Coloma jammed a smokin’ piano solo. And let’s not overlook Karl Wright holding down the beat on drums as the rhythms covered all areas.

Enter a walking-bass line for Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me. Then Freddie changed up to playing flute in a straight up reggae number. Bassist, former member of The Toasters and local Valenciano Alberto Tarín commanded the bass for the night working in a great solo during one breakdown. He was in his element and had great fun by all accounts.

A certain highlight was the whole audience swaying and waving hand-up-in-the-air to the rhythm of Marley’s One Love. An embodiment of the unity and oneness we all possess together as only music can do.

The 90 minute show left everyone happy and energized. If you like ska, then be sure to catch them the next time they are in town. I’m sure they will be back.


Report by Phillip Solomonson

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

Photos copyright Phillip Solomonson/ 24/7 Valencia

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