Members of Oxford's Jamaican community will be joining hundreds of local reggae fans for a rare concert by one of the Caribbean's biggest ever bands.

The Skatalites, which formed in the Jamaican capital of Kingston in the 1960s, play the Zodiac, in Oxford's Cowley Road tonight.

The band, most of whom are aged in their 70s, played as pivotal a role in the culture of the West Indies as the Beatles or Rolling Stones did on the British rock 'n' roll scene. In their home country they are feted as superstars.

Tickets are selling fast for the concert - the last reggae show at the venue before it closes for a £2m expansion project, which will see it re-open in September as the Carling Academy Oxford.

The band have been brought to Oxford by East Oxford DJ Aidan Larkin. And to give the music an authentic 60s flavour, he has unearthed vintage drums and amplifiers for them to use on stage.

Jamaica's first, and only, true supergroup, the Skatalites combined Caribbean folk and calypso with New Orleans rhythm and blues, to create ska music - which later evolved into reggae. They provided backing, and inspiration, to Bob Marley and The Wailers.

Andy Anderson, owner of the Hi-Lo Jamaican Eating House, in Cowley Road, said: "The Skatalites are massive stars. They are at the heart of ska and reggae, and are very important to Jamaican music. It is very exciting that they are coming to Oxford.

"They play real proper music with rhythm. I will be going and a lot of my friends too - and they are not all young! People of all ages will be coming together.

"There should be much more Jamaican music in Oxford, so things like this go down well. Aidan Larkin has done an excellent job."

Through his Skylarkin' Soundsystem, Mr Larkin is an active supporter of Jamaican music, and hosts popular club nights in Oxford and Brixton.

He said: "The Skatalites are the founding fathers of ska and reggae and provided the celebratory soundtrack of independence.

"For the very first time, Jamaica was making recorded music aimed squarely at its own people, though their scorching instrumentals also become infamous in the UK, having been exported via black communities in London.

"Their heart-melting four-part horn harmonies are bright, brimming with wide-eyed optimism, self-determination and hope. It is the sound of a nation standing up and defining itself, and its culture, on the world stage."

"The Zodiac is closing down, and what better way is there to bow out, than this?"

Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets are £17 in advance.