Artist / Band / Musician
Reggae / Ska / Roots Music
This is the official MySpace profile of the legendary reggae artist Jackie Mittoo. This Profile was created and is operated by the family of Jackie Mittoo in honor of his memory and to keep the truth of his legacy alive.
Jackie Mittoo's Biography
Jackie Mittoo was born Donat Roy Mittoo on March 3, 1948 Kingston, Jamaica. When he was still just a baby, he was brought to live with his grandparents in Brown's Town, Jamaica where he was taught piano by his grandmother who was a music teacher.By the age of four Jackie could already play the piano perfectly.He first performed in public before he was ten, around this time he was playing rags a Jamaican form similar to boogie-woogie and reproducing the American R'n'B he was hearing on the radio. After leaving school Jackie attended Kingston College where he would organize lunchtime jam sessions playing with amongst others Tyrone Downie ( later of the Wailers) and Augustus Pablo. He first began playing professionally at the age of thirteen with various bands such as The Rivals and The Sheiks.In 1959 a man by the name of Coxson Dodd caught the attention of JAckie Mittoo when a paino player failed to show for a session with Delroy Wilson and Jackie filled in. so impressed was Dodd that he asked him to run the sessions at his new studio at 13 Brentford Road in Kingston when it opened in 1963. Mittoo recorded thousands of tunes throughout the Sixties. Singers, vocal groups and dee-jays all backed by a succession of brilliant musicians.Jackie recorded and played the keyboard on virtually every peace of music that came out of Studio One. Jackie began recording and playing with the top Jamaican musicians of that time and in 1964 became the fouding memeber of the most famous Jamaican Ska band the Skatalites.The Skatalites played a potent mix of jazz arrangements and horn solos over their version of the American R'n'B rhythms so beloved of Jamaica's sound system followers. As the R'n'B style gave way to soul in the USA so the sound system bosses became Jamaica's first record producers, recording one off 'specials' for their exclusive use, to satisfy the demand for R'n'B from their followers. Such was the popularity of these recordings the top 'sounds' began releasing these records to the general public and the Jamaican recording industry was launched into action. The Skatalites recorded for all the top producers of the time Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label, Justin & Philip Yap's Top Deck label as well as Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd's Studio One label.Despite such success the fame was short lived however, and the Skatalites broke up.Jackie reformed the remaining memeber along with some new additions and created the band the Soul Vendors.Jackie was not only the leader of the band, he also wrote all the music with the horn arrangements by Roland Alphonso.The Soul Vendors found huge success and even became Jamaica's first musical ambassadors when they traveleled to England. Jackie, however was still responisble for composing all the music at Studio One at this time as well. As part of an agreement with Coxson Dodd, Jackie also ontop of that had to create atleast five new riddims a week, making his music compsitions number in the thousands.He was a creator,giving the bass player his lines, writing the chords for the guitarist, playing keyboards himself as well as arranging the recordings. The artists recorded during this period included Ken Booth, Bob Andy, Alton Ellis, Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Heptones, Marcia Griffiths, John Holt, Slim Smith, Delroy Wilson and many, many others as well as recording superb instrumental music.It was during this time that Jackie changed the old ska beat, and with his revolutionary compossions changed it into what we know know as reggae. This body of music is not only the foundation of reggae, constantly being covered and versioned, but an incredible artistic and creative achievement in it's own right. Jackie left Jamaica for Canada towards the end of the Sixties although he would continue to return regularly and and work with Dodd throughout the Seventies and Eighties. After leaving Studio One Jackie continued to work with many reggae artists and producers most notably Bunny 'Striker' Lee, Sugar Minott's Youth Productions and the Skengdon Recording Company in Miami amongst others. Jackie Mittoo died of cancer in 1990 leaving behind a legacy of work the importance of which is yet to be fully appreciated.
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On May 21, 1991, Some of the biggest names in reggae history joined together and performed in honor of their close friend Jackie Mittoo. Click on artist name to see their dedication performance!
Red-i "Tribute to Jackie Mittoo"
The Nice Up "Jackie Mittoo"
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