The Keyboard King
Jackie Mittoo’s contribution to reggae music is immeasurable. Of mixed Indian and African-Jamaican heritage, the man born Donat Roy Mittoo was a gifted musician that played piano in the Skatalites at the age of 16. He was a very important part of reggae’s evolution, having been a crucial member of the Studio One house band from its very foundation days, being employed as the main keyboardist and musical arranger for an extended period, working closely there with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and countless other important figures, as well as relegating Leroy Sibbles to the bass. Although Mittoo migrated to Canada in the late 1960s, he frequently returned to Jamaica to record, maintaining his Studio One connection, and also issuing a sublime series of albums for Bunny Lee in the mid-1970s. The Keyboard King was first issued on Third World in 1976, and features Mr. Mittoo’s delightful organ workouts, completely reconfiguring hits by John Holt, Johnny Clarke, Cornell Campbell, and Bunny and Skully, among others.