Ken Leighton noon, Dec. 13
Sound description: Be-bop flavored Caribbean hymnals
RIYL: The Skatalites, the Baba Brooks Band, the Granville Thomas Orchestra, Carlos Malcolm and the Afro-Jamaican Rhythms, the Soul Vendors, Count Ossie, the Maytals, the Ethiopians, the Wailers, Don Drummond, Lloyd Brevett, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Jackie Opel
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Inception: San Diego, 2005
Influences: The Skatalites, Tommy McCook, the Baba Brooks Band, the Granville Thomas Orchestra, Lord Composer and the Silver Seas Hotel Orchestra, Carlos Malcolm and the Afro-Jamaican Rhythms, the Soul Vendors, Count Ossie, the Maytals, the Ethiopians, the Wailers, the Mighty Sparrow, Lloyd Knibb, Lord Kitchener, Don Drummond, Lord Beginner, Lloyd Brevett, Louis Armstrong, the Mighty Spoiler, Bembeya Jazz National, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Jackie Opel, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, Paul Chambers, Coltrane, Lord Tanamo, Justin Hinds and the Dominoes, Nora Dean, the Blues Busters, Ken Boothe, Eric Monty Morris, Count Lasher, Doreen Schaeffer, Stanley Motta, Cannonball Adderly, Desmond Dekker, Pepito Pavon, Roland Alphonso, Harold Richardson and the Ticklers, Rico Rodriguez, Miles, Freddie Hubbard
According to their website, the Hi-Lites have dedicated themselves to "producing Ska of such an ascendant nature that the musical genre becomes a staple to the entire mainstream music listening public." Says bandleader James Trent, "When this occurs, we believe in our hearts and feel in our bones that the Ska will once again be a powerful vehicle for effecting and assisting change in the world across so many fronts: spiritually, politically, socio-economically, and diplomatically."
In early 2007, five members of the eight-piece Hi-Lites left the band to form the Amalgamated.
Trent disputes reports of a power struggle between him and former Hi-Lites percussionist Chris Wise. “I made all decisions about artistic direction of the band, exercised sole creative control over our repertoire, specified which gigs to accept or refuse, wrote all material, auditioned, rehearsed, and trained all band members…all Chris did was make phone calls for us to venues trying to shop the band around, make fliers, and sort of play percussion on the side. However, Chris kept destructively trying to usurp my authority… [he] wanted to be a ‘boss’ because he liked thinking people had to listen to his opinion.
The Hi-Lites debuted their new members locally for the first time when they played the Kensington Club on October 19, 2007.