After featuring ‘Rico’s Torpedo’ by the great Rico & Joe’s All Stars last night, I’ve spent some time getting familiar with Don Drummond, the man who taught Rico Rodriguez to play trombone.
Don Drummond was a Jamaican ska trombonist/composer who became one of the original members of The Skatalites. His musical career began in 1950 with the Eric Dean’s All-Stars where initially he played as a jazz musician.
For over a decade he played jazz until 1964 when he began to play ska, joining the Skatalites shortly after as well as converting to the Rastafari movement. Unlike Rico Rodriguez, however, Don Drummond’s career was to be short-lived after he was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend in 1965. Four years later and only 37 years of age, Drummond died in prison (with varying theories behind his death), his lasting legacy the great musicianship of Rico Rodriguez and the fantastic music of the Skatalites…I’ve also read that he has been known as “one of the most important architects of ska,” his music literally shaping reggae as we know it, with that in mind I admirably introduce today’s fantastic track, ‘Confucious’ which was released in 1964. Listen above.
Further reading: Heather Augustyn has written a book called Ska: An Oral History book which focuses on the life of Don Drummond.