The Duff Guide to Ska

“The always amazing Caz Gardiner.”

Stop is “an excellent new single which is a full-on funky soul track.” 

“Make sure to check out this cut and keep tabs on whatever Caz is doing next."

Arlington Magazine

Early in Gardiner’s career, her mother offered advice that she still follows: “Once you cross the line, you need to sparkle.” That she does, breaking into dance mid-song, whether with James Brown footwork or the salsa steps her father taught her, moves she calls her “secret weapon.”

New York Music Daily

"Gardiner is a throwback to the glory days of the Skatalites and Darlene Shaffer, a singer with jazz chops and all kinds of subtle wiggles and blue notes."

"The B-side, recorded live on tour in Argentina, is Cycles, a perfect evocation of late 60s Kingston, Gardiner’s voice equal part resolute calm and edgy unease in a situation where “things can’t get worse right now”. It’s a fair guess that a lot of people will be be dancing to this one Saturday night."

Joe's Groovy Time

Caz Gardiner’s new single “Yes I Do” is bright, full of cheery energy, and capable of turning any frown upside down. Caz’s predominantly reggae sound mixes wonderfully with her sweet vocals and lyrics, making for a truly fantastic track with high replay value. 

A Perfect Mess

This (It's Alright) is one of those albums that I hear and already wish I knew all the words to because I just want to sing along so bad. It's retro 60's soul with clean rocksteady simplicity creating this incredible bold feel that still remains gentle in it's delivery. Caz has this amazingly fresh vocal style. She is a blend of a sassy pop flair and a traditional, familiar reggae groove.

Rude Boy Train

“In the world of Jamaican-inspired music, there is sometimes power of fire, but there is also finesse, and Caz and her musicians have plenty of it to sell by the shovel.” 

Read Junk

Anyone familiar with the DC Ska Scene knows the name The Checkered Cabs. For those who grew up around the region or were a fan of that region’s bands, they are royalty. Their queen is Caz Gardiner. Caz emerged as one of the most talented vocalists to ever grace a stage. Her powerful voice has been winning over fans for over 20 years and she is not slowing down.

Washington Post Express Night Out

"New Old School: A BREATH OF booty-shaking, sweat-dripping, old-school fresh air amid a sea of jagged pop and aggressive hardcore, the Ambitions bring something to the D.C. scene it hasn't been notorious for — fun. This soulful garage band with rock chops, led by charistmatic frontwoman Caz Gardiner, doesn't just recycle '60s pop forms, it reinvents them. Check them out at Saturday's Valentine's Day bash at the Black Cat gig with politically charged punk-poppers the Electricutions."


Brightest Young Things

"...the Ambitions... The lead singer has what some older guys who work in guitar stores would call “chops,” meaning she sounds like Aretha Franklin. She also dances like Tina Turner, except actually more animated. The music is a pretty perfect balance of 1960s soul-pop with garagey keyboards and guitars. On record that perfection can sound a bit over-produced, but at this show they cranked up the rawness and the energy and got people dancing almost right away. At one point I looked around and some boogieing crowd members were intent on their feet instead of the stage, which in my mind is a huge compliment to a band that might be comfortable asking an audience to do the Mashed Potato. They didn’t ask, but I did the Mashed Potato anyway, as well as the Shingaling and a combination of the twist and the jerk that I call the Gist. It looks retarded, but is very fun to do, so please keep your comments to yourself."

"Three Stars" Feature DCist

“Some credit must go to directly the group’s lead singer, Caz. A whirlwind with curls and a vintage shift, she did a modified mashed potato when singing and cut completely loose during the instrumental sections. The Ambitions are remarkably tight, creating a cohesive sound that calls to mind Phil Spector or Pet Sounds. As for Caz, well, a Tina Turner comparison is more than appropriate. Though not possessing a world weary growl, Caz’s voice reaches out and grabs the audience. Strong but with a remarkable clarity, it brings brightness to every song, not generally found in soul (a great example was their effervescent cover of “The Midnight Hour’). After an hour of dancing all around, The Ambitions leave you wanting more."