June 15, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Reggae Explosion

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Adrian Boot, Chris Salewicz
genre
Nonfiction
We gave it an A-

Jamaica’s contributions to modern music so outmatch its size as to demand investigation. In their impressive coffee-table tome, subtitled The Story of Jamaican Music, vet music scribe Salewicz and photographer Boot use interviews with native music luminaries, hundreds of pictures, and an instructive if occasionally dry narrative text to explain the nation’s supersize impact. Before Bob Marley fused reggae music with a rock aesthetic and became the West Indies’ first music superstar, Jamaican innovators created musical styles like mento, ska, rocksteady, and dub that inspired everyone from English punks to American rappers to deejays around the world. The authors’ lush presentation and insider’s view of the religion, violence, and humor that shape the island help explain its explosive creativity.

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