Emmanuel “Rico” Rodriguez, aka Rico, Reco or El Reco was a Cuban-born Jamaican ska and reggae trombonist whose long and very accomplished musical career began in the late 50’s. Moving to Jamaica with his family at a very young age, he grew up in Kingston where was taught to the trombone by school friend, Don Drummond (who later became one of the original members of The Skatalites).
In the late 1950’s Rodriguez became a Rastafarian and later formed the group Rico and the Rudies, with whom he recorded and released the albums ‘Blow Your Horn’ and ‘Brixton Cat.’ He has also recorded with lots of producers, including Karl Pitterson, Prince Buster and Lloyd ‘Matador’ Daley and has become known as one of the first and most distinguished ska artists. Moving to the UK in the early 60’s, Rodriguez has also performed and recorded with the Specials, Jools Holland, Paul Young and many others.
In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for services to music and in 2012 he was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in recognition of his contribution to Jamaican music.
Today’s song appears on the Brixton Cat album which was released on Trojan Records in 1969 and is titled ‘Rico’s Torpedo.’ It’s got a glorious feel and I love the way the high pitch chinking piano notes perfectly contrast the low, melodic tones of Rodriguez’s trombone. Check it out above.