As a founding member of the Skatalites, saxophonist Tommy McCook left an indelible mark on reggae. Adding to his legacy, however, is a string of largely unsung dates as a session player that, in their own way, helped define the genre's sound in the late '60s and early '70s. Like organist Jackie Mittoo, McCook's reputation has been generally known only to serious reggae fanatics, as his scant few solo albums have been quite hard to find over the years. In their continuing quest to document the best that reggae has to offer, the folks at Blood and Fire have compiled two McCook records from the late '70s that are but one step in getting McCook's name back out there. This instrumental material is a far cry from the sunny, melodic tunes that defined reggae for so many people. But the rich, dubby atmospherics couple well with McCook's fluid playing, making these two records a fine adventure into seldom-explored waters.
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