Groovin’ Honor For Jamaican Sax Great

Cedric 'Im' BrooksInfluential Jamaica-born roots reggae musician and saxophone great Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks, who launched his career at age 11 at the Alpha Boys’ Academy in Kingston and who achieved international acclaim as a solo artiste and as a member of the Skatalites band, will be honoured at the annual Groovin’ In The Park concert on Sunday, June 30 at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, an executive for the fest-ival announced.

“Cedric ranked among the grea-test tenor saxophonists Jamaica has every produced and his death at age 70 has left a void that cannot be filled,” Andrea Bullens, co-producer of Groovin’ Inc, organisers of the festival, said.

Bullens, who was also a close friend of Brooks and who managed his business affairs prior to his death, said his legacy must be preserved.

“I am currently in dialogue with the Groovin’ Inc executive team and I can say that we will honour his larger-than-life legacy in a very special way, befitting of his status in the industry. We will also be speaking with representatives here in the USA [United States] to seek congressional recognition, since Cedric contributed so much to our Caribbean-American musical legacy here in the diaspora. Brooks was a master at his craft and we must honour and recognise this true Jamaican musical talent,” she noted.

Brooks, who was admitted as a patient at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in New York in February 2010, remained in a semi-comatose state at a Nursing Home in Queens until he passed away on May 2.

His involvement in the development of Jamaican music spans more than 50 years, during which time he contributed his sound to many of Jamaica’s best known artistes, including The Wailers, The Heptones and Burning Spear.

Early in his career he was a regular studio musician for Clement ‘Sir Coxson’ Dodd’s Studio One label, playing with fellow jazz musicians Ernest Ranglin, Jackie Mittoo, Roland Alphonso, and Vin Gordon.

Their various Studio One-backed tracks have been versioned repeatedly and form the very backbone of the island’s musical heritage.

Brooks teamed with Nyahbinghi drummer and band leader Count Ossie for two groundbreaking albums that fused Rasta drumming with jazz overtones: Grounation and Tales of Mozambique.

He toured regularly with the Skatalites band but was also the founder of his own band called the Divine Light (later called The Light of Saba).

One of his last performances was as a guest artiste at Caribbean Lifestyle TV’s third anniversary awards show in 2010, where he and the dynamic Kevin Bachelor delivered an entertaining performance.

Groovin’ In The Park is an outdoor reggae concert in New York that combines reggae legends with chart-topping R&B icons.

Toots Hibbert, Barrington Levy, Queen Ifrica, Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank (TGT) are the acts confirmed to perform at the festival.

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