Monday, June 21, 2010
Ernest Ranglin's contributions to ska, rocksteady, and reggae are widely known and praised (rightly), but few people are aware of his jazz recordings for Merrifield in the mid-60s. Ranglin traveled to London in 1964, staying for 9 months as the resident guitarist at Ronnie Scott's. While there, he backed a number of jazz greats and recorded two LPs: Wranglin' and Reflections. Wranglin' opens with a fantastic jazz arrangement of the Jamaican folk song "Linstead Market," a tune dating back at least 100 years (and likely longer). Here is Ranglin's version:
"Linstead Market" - the Ernest Ranglin Trio
Now to give you some idea of the traditional approach to the song, here's a mento recording from the mid-50s:
"Linstead Market" - Lord Messam & his Calypsonians
Obviously Ranglin's version is much more harmonically dense, but (as you'll hear) it pretty successfully preserves the lilting, breezy feel of mento within a modern jazz arrangement.
P.S. You can find more info on Lord Messam here.