"Ska can be a lot of different things mixed together," claims Joe Basi, drummer for Fort Lauderdale-based ska octet King 7 and the Soulsonics. "It has elements of jazz and reggae, but ska is really about the beat and can be interpreted in many individual ways."
Basi and his bandmates -- guitarist Brent Andres, baritone saxophonist and vocalist Sammy Gelberd, bassist Sir Timothy, percussionist and vocalist Teo Castellanos, keyboardist Stan Obal, alto saxophonist Lori Jewkes, and trombonist Joey Jewkes -- released the three-song CD One for the Road this past June, while last year they issued a seven-inch featuring their signature tune "Rudeboy Invasion." ("Rudeboy" also shows up on Moon Ska Records' 45-band compilation Skarmageddon 3: A New Beginning, released earlier this year.) Upcoming recordings include a seven-inch (due in January) that will showcase two songs from their as-of-yet-untitled full-length debut album (due in April).
King 7 counts Madness, the Kinks, the Specials, and Toots and the Maytals as some of its influences, and its sound reflects some of ska's jazzier roots as well. On "Ladyfriend," an instrumental track from Road, listeners can close their eyes and let the definitive beat take them on an excursion into an orchestral realm reminiscent of big band days.
Nominated for a Slammie as best new band in 1996, the group continues to pique interest at local venues. See King 7 and the Soulsonics at Squeeze on Friday and judge for yourself.