Jamaica Association of Vintage Artists & Affiliates (JAVAA) will hail the contributions of pioneering artists — singer Doreen Schaffer, saxophonist Roland Alphonso, dancer Alphanso Castro and singer Prince Buster — during their third annual vintage awards dinner gala in Brooklyn.
The only consistent organization devoted to the preservation of “Jamaica’s rich musical heritage” is already in full throttle gearing for a rousing evening of tributes to trailblazing Jamaican recorders who left an indelible imprint on Jamaica’s music and culture.
All of the four honorees either performed with or recorded with the legendary pioneering Skatalites jazz band.
The founders of the Skatalites were Tommy McCook (died 1998), Roland Alphonso (died 1998), Lloyd Brevett (died 2012), Lloyd Knibb (died 2011), Don Drummond (died 1969), Jah Jerry Haynes (died 2007), Jackie Mittoo (died 1990), Johnny Moore (died 2008) and Jackie Opel (died 1970).
Beginning May, 1964, the group started performing in Jamaica and backed all the major acts on the island including Toots & The Maytals, Bob Marley & The Wailers and Prince Buster.
Tenor, saxman Alphonso — who lived in Brooklyn until he died in 1998 — was an integral part of the group that toured and recorded during the hey-days of the band.
And Castro, acclaimed for executing dance steps that personified the music will probably inspire a new generation to continue the legacy.
Castro regularly performed on the sixties era Teenage Dance Party (TADP) television show that regularly showcased talented youths dancing the latest steps to popular music. Patterned after the Dick Clark hosted “American Bandstand,” “TADP” created a national platform for Castro and other talented teens.
New Yorkers were able to witness Castro’s “legs” action when the Skatalites performed at Central Park Summerstage in 2008.
For sure, on May 23 at St. Francis School, 260 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, Castro will reprise some of the fast steps that made him supreme each time he dance to the beat.
The early afternoon showcase beginning from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. is being held on the eve of the 77th birthday of Prince Buster. The singer, songwriter, producer “is regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of ska and rocksteady music.”
According to Wikipedia “the records he released in the 1960s influenced and shaped the course of Jamaican contemporary music and created a legacy of work that later reggae and ska artists would draw upon.”
The Skatalites played on Prince Buster records and backed many other Jamaican artists who recorded during that era.
His sons Sultan Ali and Prince Buster Jr. are slated to perform for the first time, in tribute to the celebrated legacy their father compiled and still occasionally performs.
Schaffer, known as the first lady of reggae — the title of a 1970 album — is acclaimed as the female voice of the group.
Part of the proceeds will fund the JAVAA Youth Music Group.
For more information, call 646-250-8912.