David Nerattini explores the Nassau studio band that mixed dub reggae with new wave to redefine the pop template throughout the ’80s.
Italian music fanatic David Nerattini explores the melting pot of dub reggae rhythms and spaced-out new wave synths that came out of the Compass Point Studios between 1980-84. When Chris Blackwell of Island Records started to put together the band at the studio in Nassau, Bahamas, he only had a hunch of how it might sound. But with the rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, perhaps Jamaica’s most-celebrated duo, plus percussionist Sticky Thompson and Mikey Chung, back-up guitarist for Peter Tosh, the foundations were already world-class. Add Wally Badarou, the French-African funk and jazz-fusion keyboardist, and British guitarist and songwriter Barry Reynolds, and there was plenty of international input and different energies. But at its heart, it was and still is a very Jamaican sound.
For further reading on the history of the Compass Point All Stars, you can read this piece on Grace Jones on the Red Bull Music Academy Daily.