Jazz Jamaica

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Jazz Jamaica
Performing at the Summer Sundae festival, 2007
Background information
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Ska jazz, reggae
Years active 1991–present
Labels Hannibal
Associated acts Soweto Kinch, Rico Rodriguez, Andy Sheppard, Jazz Warriors

Jazz Jamaica is a jazz/reggae music group formed by musician Gary Crosby in London in 1991.


In 1991, inspired by the rhythms of traditional Jamaican music and the largely improvisational nature of jazz, Gary Crosby - one of the original Jazz Warriors, jazz double bassist, and nephew of veteran Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin[1] - conceived a fusion of mento, ska, reggae and jazz styles in playing classic and modern jazz standards alongside Jamaican folksongs. To achieve this, he gathered together a group of musicians drawn from the jazz and reggae circuits, to form Jazz Jamaica.

Since its realisation, Crosby developed the Jazz Jamaica concept by introducing more young jazz musicians, so increasing the size of the pool of "Jazz Jamaicans", and enabling him to extend the boundaries of the music played. Crosby and his musicians are exponents of this musical fusion known as skazz, which has earned global appreciation.

In March 1999, Crosby expanded the core lineup of Jazz Jamaica to formal big-band status by adding a number of guest soloists including Denys Baptiste, Andy Sheppard, Soweto Kinch, Juliet Roberts, Orphy Robinson, Guy Barker, Kevin Robinson, Ashley Slater, Annie Whitehead, and Alex Wilson, resulting in the Jazz Jamaica All Stars, a 20-piece band featuring vocals, five saxophones, four trumpets, and four trombones with a rhythm section of double bass, piano, drums, guitar and percussion.[2]

In 2002, Jazz Jamaica won the best band award at the BBC Jazz Awards.[3]

In 2004, Jazz Jamaica collaborated with Hugh Masekela and a choir of young people for a performance at the Barbican Centre as part of the City of London Festival marking South Africa's 10th anniversary of democracy.[4]

In 2005, they released Motorcity Roots, an album of reworked Motown songs, and toured the UK and Europe in support.[5][6]

The Independent newspaper described Jazz Jamaica as "one of the UK's leading 'good-time' bands".[7]


  • Skaravan (1993), Skazz; reissued (1996), Hannibal
  • Double Barrel (1998), Hannibal
  • Massive (2004), Dune
  • Motorcity Roots (2005), Dune


  1. ^ Paul Taylor, "Gary's jazz journey", Manchester Evening News, 27 January 2006. Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Alyn Shipton. "Biography of Jazz Jamaica All Stars". The Times. Retrieved 11 January 2008 – via Jazz CDs. 
  3. ^ "Stars unite for jazz awards". BBC News. 31 July 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  4. ^ "CASE STUDIES: Hugh Masekela, Jazz Jamaica All Stars and Serious". visitingarts.org.uk. 2007. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  5. ^ John Fordham (5 October 2005). "Jazz Jamaica - Jazz Cafe, London". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  6. ^ John Fordham (2 May 2005). "Jazz Jamaica - Cheltenham Jazz Festival". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  7. ^ Phil Johnson (August 2007). "Jazz Jamaica: Lighten Up!, Bristol Zoo Gardens". The Independent. London: Independent News and Media Limited. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2008. 

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