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Monty Alexander and Ernest Ranglin

Monty Alexander and Ernest Ranglin.
Paul Schomer, NPR
Monty Alexander and Ernest Ranglin.

Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander and guitarist Ernest Ranglin are old friends, countrymen and music legends.

As young sidemen in Kingston in the early 1960s -- Alexander started out at 15 -- the two logged many hours at Studio One, birthplace of ska music. They worked with the late Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, a pioneer ska producer, and stars such as Toots Hibbert, Theophilous Beckford and Clue J and His Blues Blasters.

NPR's Liane Hansen talks to Alexander and Ranglin about their long history in Jamaican music and their later success as jazz soloists. Joined by bassist Hassan Shakur, the musicians also perform tracks from their latest CD collaboration, Rocksteady.

The disc collects new versions of a dozen ska and rocksteady classics. Included are the Ansel and Dave Collins hit "Double Barrel," "Confucius" by the Ska-Talites, and a moving rendition of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.