Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Architect of Dub

 

blog LeePerryThe man, the legend, Lee “Scratch” Perry, makes his way to the Alley

A legend of Jamaican roots reggae culture and an astronaut pioneer of the echoing spaces and rhythms of dub music, Lee “Scratch” Perry continues to wow audiences worldwide at the tender age of 75. Originally a sound engineer and producer, Perry created an inimitable sound in the studio of full bass and drum-locked rhythms, and well-interwoven soaring vocal harmonies that would mark some of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ best music, and take reggae to another place entirely.

Perry came up in a time when one of the world’s most-loved musical forms was just an embryo in the womb of a highly infectious Jamaican jazz styling called ska. It is said that summer in Jamaica during the mid-’60s was so immeasurably hot that the quick rhythm drives of ska slowed way down and turned the bass volume way up, creating both the predecessor style, rocksteady, and soon after, reggae music.

Enter Perry from the Jamaican countryside to make sure the music and culture of reggae was here to stay. After gaining recognition behind the sound board, Perry went on to create Black Ark studio in his own backyard and founded Upsetter label in the early 1970s. There, he would record classic roots artists like Junior Murvin, Max Romeo, the Heptones, and the Wailers. Perry could instinctively bring out the flourishes of a river and the haunting echoes of a night in the countryside.

At that time, his use of sound effects was totally unprecedented, and his use of manual control over sound engineering was unlike any other producer’s to date. Perry created a profound artistic relationship with those he recorded. The music he recorded for Bob Marley, brought out a playful, fresh, and unique sound in some of his greatest tunes, including “Small Axe,” “Duppy Conqueror,” and “Sun is Shining.”

He remains a wizard at the soundboard today. After a number of labels and a re-entrance into the realm of musical performance, Perry continues to shine. He has collaborated with dozens of high-grade artists around the world, including DJ Spooky, and explored the infinite realms of dub with artists such as Dubblestandart and Sub Atomic Soundsystem.

In 2003, he received a Grammy for his album Jamaica E.T. The next year, Rolling Stone put Perry in its list of the 100 greatest artists of the century. In his life the roots of ska have evolved to ska-punk bands like Death Cab for Cutie, while his use of sampling, bass, and drums laid the foundation for hip-hop in Queens. Similarly, his production of dub has heavily influenced electronic music and dubstep today. And—believe it or not—at 76, his shows still get rave reviews. Perry touches down this Sunday at Moe’s Alley for a show that’s bound to be out of this world.

 


Lee “Scratch”  Perry plays at 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25/adv, $30/door. For more information,  call 479-1854.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”