Also known as: First Wave Ska
The first wave of Ska originated in Jamaica with groups like The Skatalites, who combined Jazz and Rhythm & Blues with rhythms of traditional Caribbean Music like Mento and Calypso. The unmistakable rhythm of ska is defined by the strong emphasis on the off-beats. Horn sections, busy and walking bass lines, and smooth vocal harmonies are also characteristic of Jamaican ska.
The original sound of ska developed in post-WWII Jamaica, where musicians were influenced by United States radio stations broadcasting New Orleans R&B, Jump-Blues, and shuffle-blues music. Initially ska was a Jamaican counterpart to this southern blues music, but quickly developed into a unique style. The notable off-beat guitar rhythm work heard in tracks like Fats Domino's "Be My Guest" was a heavy influence on the development of Jamaican ska. Due to the country's then lack of acknowledgement of international music copyright protection, local bands would often perform covers of popular North American and British shuffle and rock songs in this new style.
With the rise of North American Soul music in the early-to-mid 1960s, the style of ska changed, and developed into Rocksteady towards the end of the decade. Both the new style of rocksteady, and the original form of ska were the main influences behind the rise of the Reggae genre in the late 1960s. Towards the end of the 1970s, British bands who had grown up listening to first wave ska revived the genre as 2 Tone (second wave ska), and eventually this lead to the Third Wave Ska revival in North America. Jamaican ska pre-dates 2 tone by approximately two decades, and was known simply as ska until the genre's revival usurped the original term. Many important Jamaican musicians of the 1960-70s, including The Wailers, The Upsetters and Toots & The Maytals, began by playing ska before switching to reggae and Dub.
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