The Skatalites

More than a band, the Skatalites were and are an institution, an aggregation of top-notch musicians who didn't merely define the sound of Jamaica, they were the sound of Jamaica across the '50s and '60s. Although the group existed in its original incarnation for less than 18 months, members brought their signature styles to hundreds upon hundreds of the island's releases. The Skatalites officially lined up as guitarist Jerome "Jah Jerry" Hinds, bassist Lloyd Brevett, teenaged pianist Donat Roy "Jackie" Mittoo, drummer Lloyd Knibbs, trumpeter Johnnie "Dizzie" Moore, Cuban-born tenor saxophonist Tommy McCook, alto saxophonists Lester Sterling and Cuban born Roland Alphonso, and trombonist Don Drummond. Moore, McCook, Sterling, and Drummond were all alumni of the Alpha Cottage School for Boys, an educational institution for troubled and troublesome boys in Kingston, run by the Catholic diocese. Besides the regular lashings of studies, the school was renowned for its music program, and over the years turned hundreds of wayward boys into performers of note. All four ended up playing the hotel circuit, churning out R&B and jazz covers for the tourists.