After delivering a solid outing with the Presenting Kingston All-Stars project earlier this spring, Montreal-based producer and artistic director Moss "Mossman" Raxlen again rounds up the KAS collective — Sly Dunbar, Ansel Collins, Everton & Everald Gayle, Linford "Hux" Brown, Jackie Jackson, Robbie Lyn and Mikey "Mao" Chung — for Dubwise, a followup that proves that Jamaica's famed reggae studio session players of the '60s and '70s (think Bob Marley's Wailers Band, Lee "Scratch" Perry's Upsetters, Peter Tosh's Word Sound and Power Band and Toots and the Maytals) haven't lost a beat after all these years.
The nine-track project (partly produced at Kingston, Jamaica's legendary Mixing Lab Studios for added notes of authenticity) has no time for jabs, hitting us flush with "Kebra Dub," an African jazz dubplate that sets the stage. An "early juggling" cut like "Dub Ova" — offering up Hux Brown on guitar and Ansel Collins on keys — doesn't particularly stand out, but then along comes heavy tunes like "Boss Dub," "Clappers" and "Reyes Dub." The chill of "Jah Made It Dub" succeeds more by its infectious groove than the vocals, while the guitar work on "City Dub" underscores a satisfying sonic commotion.
Dubwise functions as both tribute and template for the genre, demonstrating Raxlen's love and reverence for what came before in order to take the sound into the future. (Roots & Wire Records)