Touter's tribute to Jackie
Veteran Inner Circle keyboardist Bernard 'Touter' Harvey has released a tribute album to Studio One stalwart Jackie Mittoo.
Titled Planet X...Dub Steppa, it contains interpretations of Mittoo standards such as Whodunit, Drum Song and Ram Jam, all done for Studio One where the keyboardist/producer/arranger was musical director for several years.
A member of the original Skatalites band, Mittoo died from cancer in Toronto, Canada in 1990.
Harvey, one of many keyboardists influenced by Mittoo, recorded the songs to the increasingly-popular dubstep beat. He told Splash, its the beat his sons and their friends listen to and he also "gets a kick out of it".
"It lends itself so that one can be as creative as they want to be and it is also a derivative of dub a la King Tubby's," he explained. "Actually, all electronica and dance music (effects) were pioneered by Jamaican engineers and sound systems during the 60s and 70s."
Harvey was a prolific session musician during the 1970s, playing on songs and albums by The Wailers and Inner Circle when Jacob Miller was lead singer of the latter.
He said he was first bitten by the music bug as a student at Trench Town Primary School where he listened to a teacher playing the piano after school.
"He would play a lot of Beatles (songs) and I was very impressed with his performances. So I would sit and watch him play and sometime hum the melody if I recognised what he was playing but I never thought I would become a keyboard player," said Harvey.
While attending Excelsior High School, he tried his hand as a trombonist for the school band, but after two weeks, that all changed.
"The keyboard player left and the other guys decided that I knew enough about the keyboards and what I didn't know they would teach me, so they decided not to seek another keyboard player and trained me instead," he recalled.
Harvey says he was good enough to work on groundbreaking albums by Bob Marley and the Wailers including Catch a Fire, Natty Dread and Rastaman Vibration.
The Florida-based Harvey has been a member of Inner Circle since 1979, playing on some of their biggest hit songs including Black Roses, Sweat and Bad Boys.
"Inner Circle is still the creative force it has always been, still experimenting with new and sometimes even old ideas to move forward," he said.