Alpha Beta Jama

IM1This may seem like yet another track which strays far from punk territories but with Rico Rodriguez’ involvement in The Specials, his own releases on their 2 Tone label, and his tenure at Jamaica’s infamous Alpha School “for wayward boys”, I’m deeming this one punk by proxy.

It’s actually the latter Alpha association which led me to today’s post, as we’ve lost yet another of their infamous alumni who, if you didn’t know, have been responsible for some key moments in Ska, Reggae and even Jazz history.

IM2Cedric IM Brooks is the latest to turn in his horn and head off to the big brass band in the sky but he leaves behind an extensive catalogue some 50 years deep. He may not strictly fit with the spiky brigade but Brooks repeatedly challenged convention in Jamaican music, working his way through rhythm n blues, ska, rocksteady and into reggae, joining Studio 1’s session band before leading The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari, in turn introducing the world to Rasta imagery and music with their Grounation LP in 1970.

His following years were spent exploring traditional Jamaican music and melding it with afrocentric jazz via his Divine Light and Light Of Saba projects, culminating in 1978’s solo set United Africa adding elements of afro-rock to his already chimera-like repertoire.

IM3And so, here we are 3 years later, with Brooks lending his rootical sax stylings to Rico’s Red Top, a bubbling rework of Lionel Hampton’s jazz standard as produced by Skank Blog mainstay Dick Cuthell…


My favourite track from United Africa, first played to me by Mick Wayne.

Rico and Dick going toe to toe with The Specials on The Old Grey Whistle Test…

And if you’ve got the time, we’ll leave you with half an hour of nyabinghi music from The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari.

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