Drawing upon diverse experiences in 1960's era Jamaican music, funk, soul, and jazz, The Soul Captives fuse together a unique musical style that they simply refer to as "the captivating sound". Varying from blazing horn-driven Skatalites style instrumentals to smoking vocal tunes with full harmonies reminiscent of Bob Marley and the Wailers, they have yet to play for a crowd that could stay in their seats.
The band began as a hobby for guitarist Vic Wong and trumpeter Josh Jerge in the summer of ‘03. Already veterans in the ska scene from Bay Area Music Award winners Monkey and Riverside soul-reggae combo the Debonaires, the two hoped to start a group that combined their two loves: jazz and Jamaican music. They had their eyes on Raynier Jacildo to man the keyboard, another talented young performer with Sacramento's reggae sensations, the Steady Ups. They also recruited local roots reggae session players Mark Allen-Piccolo (bass) and Jayme Arredondo (drums). Having backed reggae legends like Sister Nancy, Don Carlos, and Wadi Gad, the pair brings a wealth of experience and authenticity in Jamaican rhythms. To lead the group, the Captives employed the silky-smooth voices of Glenn Casuga (who doubles on tenor saxophone) and Lauren Nagel-Werd. During their first session together, the grins around the room were a clear indication that this was definitely going to be more than a side project.
Within six months of their first performance, local music fans and promoters found it difficult not to take note of the group's undeniable musicianship and talent. BayAreaSka.com immediately featured the young Captives on the second volume of their promotional compilation CD. That single jazz-infected instrumental ska track (“the Captivator”) generated buzz in the California Bay Area and Los Angeles. Within the following months, they had already performed with their contemporary heroes Let’s Go Bowling, Chris Murray, Go Jimmy Go, the Slackers, and the Aggrolites. The band had also secured a regular gig at Napa’s most popular brewery, Downtown Joe’s.
At live performances, the Soul Captives have earned praise from Chris LaSalle, president of Hellcat Records. Music journalist Rob Harvilla of the East Bay Express reported that The Soul Captives "stole the show" when they filled an opening spot for ska heavyweights Let's Go Bowling. Shortly thereafter, he declared that they were one of ten "must-see summer acts" of 2004. As the summer rolled by, the Captives were invited to play at remote venues such as the Victoria Ska Festival in Canada and the High Desert Ska Festival in Colorado. The group is currently in the process of recording a full length album.
"The Captives don't go near the sound that made Op. Ivy underground legends. Theirs is a more reggae- and jazz-inflected sound,… serving as a link between vintage 924 Gilman ska-punk and straitlaced Yoshi's jazz; the young Captives pack enough weaponry to eventually blow the doors off either venue." -Rob Harvilla, Music Journalist for the East Bay Express