Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sattalites and The Orbit Room Tribute to Jojo Bennett: The Fugitive Gets Some Justice

Jamaican composer, arranger and trumpeter, Joseph "Jojo" Bennett, a graduate of the famed Kingston musical crucible, Alpha Boys' School, went on to joinByron Lee And The Dragonaires, recording several albums with them before staying in Canada after the group's show there at Expo 67. In 1970 he returned to Jamaica, releasing the album "Groovey Joe".
                                                            Click on photos to enlarge

He then returned to Canada in the late seventies and joined Ernie Smith & The Roots Revival, (ABOVE) touring and recording with them into the early 80's. At this point Jojo put together an ensemble of young Canadian musicians and became the leader of the 
Juno Award winning Canadian/Jamaican reggae/pop band The Sattalites, earning much media attention and a broad audience with many videos and six albums to their credit.

A celebration of his talents and accomplishments took place this past Sunday. By four p.m. a sizeable crowd had climbed up into the Orbit Room, which has provided a weekly residency and headquarters for the band since Jojo's semi-retirement. Greeted by the fragrance of a large pot of ital corn soup and a steady mix of Bob Marley music, there were at least six or seven people singing along with each song at any given moment. 

Hosted by his long time confidante and original lead singer Fergus Hambleton (left), whose son Graeme played alto sax on the show (right), three sets of standards from the Jamaican songbook offered a retrospective of Sattalites personnel and showcased many guests who have been influenced by their sound during the group's tenure as Canada's top reggae band.

Right: Original Sattalites soundman and guitarist/singer Jeff Holdip and Neville Francis.


Orbit Alley, a long hallway leading to the patio, became part of stage right as a scrum formed around the single microphone there. Left, trombone man Dizzy, and vocalists Michael Garrick and Rah Lion, crucial percussionist Smasher and keyboard don Sam Weller jockey for position and hold their corner..

                   Below: The gracious and glorious Tanya Mullings. "I'm here for Uncle Joe." 

Set One L to R: Neville Francis, Rah Lion, Jojo Bennett, Axe, Graeme Hambleton, Rick Morrison, Fergus Hambleton, & Sam Weller

Set Two L to R: Neil Chapman, Pablo Paul, Jesse Dubmatix King, Fergus, & Bill King

Set Two ska closer: Dizzy, Bruce McGillivray, Jason Wilson


  1. Hi Paul! It was a wonderful tribute to JoJo, who has been such a positive force in Reggae music here and in JA! It felt like a family affair, with 3 generations of musicians and fans. Thanks for making room for me and my son, Daniel at your table. I love your photos!

  2. Such an amazing warm and welcome vibe in the room threaded together by love and great reggae music. A justifiably terrific tribute to a great man.

  3. don't step on ma toe, my name is Jojo!