Album review
Shake Your Foundation
Rotterdam Ska Jazz Foundation
Grover Records
05 - 11 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Night In Tunisia
  2. Dreyfuss Is Gone
  3. Lonely Man
  4. Pro Teba a.k.a. Slaviska
  5. Old Rocking Chair
  6. The Sidewinder
  7. Snake Tie
  8. Road To Kingston
  9. Shot In The Dark
  10. Oublihorns
  11. Lonely Dub
  12. Dubwinder
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Lead Instruments : 5 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4

In an era of inexpressive overproduced throwaway pop and electronic DJ superstars, The Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation keeps it real and goes back to the music of the sixties as a starting point. But be careful! The Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation is NOT a retro band in any perspective. They start where others have left. Armed with 4 horns, drums, acoustic & electric bass, guitar and organs, The Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation has been refining mixes of Ska, Rocksteady, Jazz, Reggae and Soul for over the last three years. The Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation is a mixture of experienced musicians from the Rotterdam pop and jazz scene, and successful Ska and Jazz bands like Let's Quit and the Rotterdam Jazz Project. Largely inspired by music from Jamaica, but also legendary musicians like Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins (to mention a few), The Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation is ready to shake your foundation! Opening their debut album on Grover Records with a 'real' jazz tune, Dizzy Gillespie's "Night In Tunisia", they then burst into one of seven originals on this album, the traditional arranged ska tune "Dreyfuss Is Gone", before they cover "Lonely Man" from Ronald Wilson, who was also known by the unusual names of 'Upcoming Willow', and 'Trammy', the unassuming title masked an incredibly powerful and driving horn lead Ska track, easily overlooked for many years. "Pro Teba a.k.a. Slaviska" is the second original tune written as well by sax player Sybren Bijleveld, with an almost Klezmer feeling, followed by a cover of one of the greatest singers ever in ska, the great Jackie Opel, "Old Rocking Chair", a Studio 1 track that appeared on the great Skatalites compilation "Foundation Ska". Then the Rotterdam Ska Jazz Foundation returns to the jazz side again, with a rendition of "Sidewinder", originally by former Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey apprentice Lee Morgan. "Snake Tie" was written by trombone player Arjen Bijleveld, and is ska tune on which the horn section really shows not only the enormous talent and technique they possess, but more important, you can hear the joy, nice organ solo on this tune as well. "Road To Kingston" is another ska stomper with vocals by Ska-D-Lite singer and co-writer Frank 'D-Lite' Diemel. There have been numerous covers of Henri Mancini tunes in ska and reggae, and Rotterdam Ska Jazz Foundation's take on "Shot In The Dark" has been done before by Roland Alphonso for Justin 'Phillip' Yap's Top Deck label, but RSJ Foundation can be proud of their version. "Oublihorns" composed by the band's second sax player Frank van der Velden, it is to my ears the 'weakest' track on this debut album, but that should be said taking into account the overall strength of the whole set. Two dubs, "Lonely Dub" and yes they dubbed up one of the jazz tracks, "Dubwinder" finish this very convincing debut album. If you have a chance pick it up at the releaseparty that will be held on November 13th in Rotterdam (where else) in the Netherlands. For information on the location of the releaseparty and more on the Rotterdam Ska Jazz Foundation just click here.