Based in San Diego, the Amalgamated spun off from the Hi-Lites in early 2007. Five members of the Hi-Lites -- an eight-piece ska band -- left the group due to a falling out with bassist James Trent, who also writes the band's original tunes.
The five members who bolted and two other former Hi-Lites formed the Amalgamated, a ska-jazz band with early-1960s rock-steady and reggae influences.
“We are an incredible live band that makes everyone dance to up-tempo beats and can also get you into a groove with light reggae textures. We open each song up for solos, allowing all members the opportunity to show off their improvisation talents. The creativity flowing may remind the audience of great jazz standards being performed.”
The band has appeared at the Belly Up Tavern, Casbah, Soma, Queen Bee’s Cultural Center, Winston’s, O’Connell’s, Royal Dive, Hensley’s Flying Elephant, Kensington Club, Radio Room, and the Ramona Mainstage.
Founding Amalgamated trombone player Keith Duncan left the group in 2009, followed by founding percussionist Chris Wise, who also co-founded the Hi-Lites. The band also lost August Christman (bass), Dave Polnik (sax), Sean Conway (trumpet), Mark McLemore (drums), and Charles Roy (guitar).
Horn player Keith Duncan left the band late in 2007 when he moved to Washington, DC, though he did play a show with them in 2009, right before joining the Shifters.
Drummer Jason Yandall left the band in June 2011, to concentrate on his new band Ottly Mercer. Amalgamated guitarist Reggie Costa mixed and co-produced OM’s debut album, while Amalgamated singer Raphael “Rip” Peña helped them book shows as their promoter.
I left the band late in 2007 when I moved to DC. But I did play a show with them in 2009 right before I started/joined The Shifters.