Ska Inferno (Markosa Records)

Blue Riddim Band 

Ska Inferno
(Markosa Records)

The revival of the Blue Riddim Band has been one of this year's best surprises in the Kansas City music scene. The 30-year-old reggae-ska-dub collective is hard at work cooking up a vintage dub album to be released later this summer, but in the meantime they've given a proper release to Ska Inferno, a record that's been waiting in the wings for some time. With arrangements by Jack "Blacky" Blackett of songs like "Ska & Soda" and "Rosedale Ska" — plus a skanktified version of Paul Desmond's jazz classic "Take 5" — the disc veers away from the reggae that earned Blue Riddim the respect of the hardcore Rastas in favor of a sound more in line with the Skatalites. The original compositions are clearly the work of a band that knows the genre inside out. From the tightly arranged horn charts to the nimble bass lines and less-is-more guitars, Ska Inferno finds the Blue Riddim crew proving its skankin' mettle — and having a good time in the process. While most of the anticipation will center around the group's upcoming release, Ska Inferno also deserves its moment in the sun.

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