Various artists album review
Kingston Lounge - Cocktail Music Jamaican Style
Grover Records
November 23, 2003

Tracking list

  1. Rio Pecos - T.S.A.
  2. Girl From Ipanema - Peeping Toms
  3. Cha Cha #69 - Joey Altruda
  4. Wood In Di Fire - Loie
  5. Elegy - New York Ska Jazz Ensemble
  6. Louis Gone A Foreign - Dr.Ring-Ding & H.P.Setter
  7. Almost Home - After Hours
  8. Touches Of Silk - CJC
  9. Latin Expression - Rico
  10. Summer Wind - Monty Alexander
  11. Every Day - Gringo
  12. Calafia - Jump With Joey
  13. Groovy Kind Of Love - Doree Shaffer
  14. Change The Mood - Rude Rich & The High Notes
  15. Parabéns - Victor Rice
  16. Above Limit - Studio 9
  17. Negril Blues - Mousse T. feat. Till Brönner
  18. Dobby - De Soto
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4/5

This is the third album in the series German label Grover Records released to celebrate its 10th anniversary, after the instrumental ska sampler "Speechless" and "Tune In". Given the major influences of latin and jazz on ska, and the major role latin and jazz play have always played when it came to the choice of music best fitted to sip your cocktail by, an album like "Kingston Lounge" has been long overdue. This is an interesting addition to the latin and jazz AND dub tinged sounds that have surfaced in the lounge/nu-dub scene over the past couple of years either played or (re)mixed or produced by the likes of Jazzanova, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Rainer Trüby Trio and Thievery Corporation. From the nice jazz/rocksteady guitar of Senior Allstars' guitar player Markus Dassmann accompanying the piano theme and horns on yet unreleased "Rio Pecos", to the nice version of one of the defining tunes of this genre "Girl From Ipanema" in a version by Spanish calypso-latin-ska outfit Peeping Toms is only a small step, as is the next, to the latin-jazz of Jump With Joey's Joey Altruda really going 'cocktail' on "Cha Cha #69". The mood turns a bit more blue on Loie's "Wood In Di Fire" with a prominent jazz bass solo, and laziness invoking horn arrangement, a vibe maintained by the New York Ska Jazz Ensemble in "Elegy" and gets replaced by the more traditional dub yet chill-out workout in "Louis Gone A Foreign by Dr.Ring-Ding & H.P. Setter. After Hours is probably the band best examplifying the overall style of this album being described a part ska, part reggae, part lounge act, they show it on the horn driven "Almost Home", the first vocal track on this album. CJC short for Court Jester's Crew, the band that disbanded, but lives on in Soulfood International and also in the here with "Above Limit" as well presented Studio 9, contributes "Touches Of Silk", a vocal more or less gloomy reggae-track before the legendary Jamaican trombone-player Rico Rodriguez blows his way through "Latin Expression" a tune in his trademark sound. Jamaican jazz-stalwart Monty Alexander accompanies on his piano the singing of John Pizzarelli in the too much 'easy tune' for my taste "Summer Wind", before another unreleased Marcus Dassmann penned tune brings back the Carribean feel on the melodica dominated Gringo's "Every Day". Jump With Joey's "Calafia" is a fine latin-ska track before Skatalites' singer Doreen Shaffer's does her 'nightclub'-take on "Groovy Kind Of Love". Dutch ska band Rude Rich & The High Notes, who just finished their new album "Soul Stomp" perform their take on the late great Jackie Mittoo's "Change The Mood", before Victor Rice's "Parabéns" from his "In America" album gets the mood further back into jazz territory with its 60s guitar. Mousse T. along with Till Brönner provide a perfect blend of the jazz/reggae/latin/ska-feel of this album in their "Negril Blues" before the set is closed with another Marcus Dassman tune, the relaxed dubby melodica sounds of De Soto's "Dobby". My advice is to mix the cocktail for which Dr.Ring-Ding throws the recipe in the booklet, or just take some juice, put this CD up, sit back, and relax. If this is 'elevator music', I'll never use stairs again.