Eamon’s Album Of The Week: Jazz Jamaica by Ernest Ranglin

Every week of this outdoor Mister Sunday season, we’ll be asking Eamon or Justin to highlight an album that they’ll be playing in full at the beginning of the day. This week, it’s Eamon’s turn. He’s chosen Ernest Ranglin’s Jazz Jamaica record. This is what he has to say about it.

On a recent tour of the UK, Justin and I dropped into Idle Hands, a really nice record store in Bristol where we did a spot of record shopping. (There’s actually a video of us talking about a few of our picks from the store in case you’re interested.)
One of the records I picked up was Jazz Jamaica by Ernest Ranglin, and it’s that record we’ll be kicking proceedings off with this Sunday. The record initially caught my eye for the cover, which was clearly Jamaican but suggestive of a different kind of sound than reggae, ska, dance hall, etc.

As the title suggests, it’s actually a jazz record – notably, a jazz guitar record. Ernest Ranglin was a prolific guitar player in the reggae and ska worlds, integral to the early releases on Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, and his progressive style in the early 60s is credited with starting what would become know as ska. You can read a whole lot more in his bio.
It’s a really elegant record, with an obvious Caribbean swing to it but at the same time, it’s unmistakeably a jazz record. I buy a lot of jazz, and recently I’ve specifically been exploring the world of jazz guitar. I’ve really grown to love this record for its unique combination of jazz playing with a Jamaican sensibility. A perfect record to ease the party in this Sunday.