Peter Tosh ADD

Review: Peter Tosh Birthday Bash in Los Angeles, CA 10/16/2011

10/20/2011 by Larson Sutton

Review: Peter Tosh Birthday Bash in Los Angeles, CA 10/16/2011

Three days shy of what would’ve been Peter Tosh’s 67th birthday, a west Los Angeles reggae club, The Joint, held a party in honor of the ‘stepping razor’.  Presented by producer/DJ Native Wayne (No Doubt, Gregory Isaacs, Toots & the Maytals) and the club’s Eddie “Dreddie” Donaldson, the evening held more than a few surprises. 

While acting as house band for the tribute, Shaka Man and the Jubilee Orchestra deftly handled the chore of musical host to guests Al Anderson and Lee Jaffe.  Guitarist Anderson, a former Wailers and Peter Tosh band member, slyly took the stage decked out in black and, keeping to the back corner, let the classic ‘Legalize It,’ roll to a boil before dropping a choice solo into the stew.  It was typical Anderson, aiding and abetting a song’s true power with just the right compliment of style and phrasing, reminding the hip-swaying audience why he’s still one of the finest.

Jaffe, in contrast, took front and center wearing his customary Fedora and blowing his custom harmonica.  A veteran of both the Natty Dread sessions and the Legalize It record (he shot the iconic cover), Jaffe reprised his role from the former with an extended take on ‘Rebel Music.’  For those in attendance to witness some of reggae’s most legendary tracks brought to life by two of those there at the creation truly was special.

Not only about live music, The Joint’s stellar audio/visual system ran on a loop the Tosh doc Stepping Razor/Red X on each television above the bar and on the big screen on the wall stage right, as though the bush doctor, himself was keeping watch over the proceedings.  Located between the Mid-City neighborhood and Beverly Hills, the cozy club prepared authentic Jamaican cuisine delivered tableside as staff kept the drinks full.  The dance floor flowed with sharply dressed clientele including Marley daughter Karen, among those spotted at the westside watering hole.

Standing in the doorway toward evening’s end, Native Wayne, presently working on a Tosh feature film, summed up the legendary musician.  “Peter is a sleeping giant,” Wayne offered.  “One of the great, overlooked heroes in the world of music and politics, he is a musical Malcolm X and he should respected on that level.”  With the recent release of both the Legalize It and Equal Rights box sets commemorating the work of this icon, perhaps a 21st century audience will appreciate some of what predecessors have missed.  The Joint’s Stepping Razor Birthday Bash certainly did its part to achieve that.


Photos by Nick LaBran