All-stars indeed. Boasting a roster that's a veritable who's who of traditional reggae — Sly Dunbar, Robbie Lyn, Mikey "Mao" Chung, Ansel Collins, Linford "Hux" Brown, Jackie Jackson, Everton & Everald Gayle — Presenting Kingston All-Stars demonstrates a pedigree that reverberates with the historical through-line of roots reggae rhythms and sonics.
Assembled by Montreal-based producer/engineer Moss "Mossman" Raxlen, Presenting Kingston All-Stars is permeated by good vibes and even better musicianship, and serves as a great reminder that reggae is a living, ever-evolving genre. Raxlen's dub and mixing sophistication on numbers like "Eastern Ska" and "Swing Back" particularly stand out, but even on a "just okay" track like "Just When," which doesn't have much going for it lyrically, the content is raised by having notables such as Collins playing a central role.
Strong cuts such as "My Father's House" with Cedric Myton or the RZee Jackson-featuring "Bossman Say" stick firmly in a vintage groove while retaining a crisp, modern feel. Carefully balancing nostalgia with noteworthy production, Presenting Kingston All-Stars is an aural treat. (Independent)