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R.I.P. Cedric Brooks, reggae great passes away

Hey Beat fans, I’ve got some sad news to pass along. We’ve lost another brother to Jah.

Reggae great Cedric “Im” Brooks (1943 – 3 May 2013) died recently, in New York at the age of 70. Brooks was a deeply influential saxophonist and flautist; a world class reggae originator!

Brooks was born in Jamaica and was known for his solo recordings and as a member of The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, The Light of Saba, and the incomparable reggae band The Skatalites.

Photo credit: Libertinus Yomango

From Wikipedia:

Brooks was a member of groups such as The Vagabonds and the Granville Williams Band in the early 1960s, but it would be the late 1960s when he would find his first major commercial success, as part of a duo with trumpeter David Madden, Im & David.[2] The duo released a series of instrumental singles for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One label. Brooks also became a regular studio musician at the Brentford Road studio, playing on many recording sessions, and released several solo singles in the early 1970s.

In 1970 he first teamed up with Rastafarian drummer Count Ossie, releasing tracks such as “So Long Rastafari Calling”, “Black is Black”, and “Give Me Back My Language and Culture” as Im and Count Ossie. The pair would later form The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, with Brooks acting as musical director and leader of the horn section. From this collaboration resulted the triple LP-Set Grounation. Brooks left in 1974 to form a new band, the Divine Light (later called The Light of Saba). After a single, “Demauungwani”, the group recorded their first album for the Institute of Jamaica, From Mento to Reggae to Third World Music, a collection exploring the history of Jamaican music, incorporating mento, junkanoo, ska, rocksteady, and reggae.[2] The band made two further albums of jazz-influenced Rastafarian reggae,[4] The Light of Saba and The Light of Saba in Reggae, before Brooks left, again going solo with his 1977 album, Im Flash Forward, featuring Studio One rhythms from the early 1970s, and regarded as one of the greatest Jamaican instrumental albums. The following year, Brooks assembled a new band of musicians to record the United Africa album.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Brooks released a few singles but largely worked as a session musician. In particular, he worked with Carlos Malcolm in San Diego, California, in 1998 as part of a 20-piece ska and mento orchestra known as “Zimbobway’s King Kingston Orchestra”. These albums featured Im both on saxophone and percussion in many of the 24 recordings. In 1999, after the death of Rolando Alphonso, former saxophonist of the Skatalites, Brooks joined the band.

Wikipedia: Cedric Brooks

He leaves behind seven children, and a legion of ska and reggae fans.

Peace, Im, one love mi brudda.

The Beat

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