Sadly Tommy Mc Cook died on Monday 4 May 1998, our condolences go out to his family and friends. He will be remembered for his Ska music played on the tenor saxophone and flute with the Skatalites and the Supersonics, who were the Duke Reid session band at Treasure Isle recording studios. Tommy lead the band and was also the musical arranger, he helped to develop Rock Steady and Reggae. Born in 1927 he attended Alpha Boys School in Kingston Jamaica, a breeding ground for great musicians. He emigrated to the Bahamas in 1954 where he developed his musical skills, which were jazz influenced. Came back to Jamaica in 1962, in 1964 he joined the Skatalites and it was said that he coined their name. In Jamaica in April 1984 at the Dynamic Studios he was responsible for the "Return of the Big Guns" the reunion of the Skatalites who continue to tour up to the present day. At this session tunes written by Don Drummond were recorded for the first time. In the fascinating interview with David Rodigan, in 1984 at the Reggae Sunsplash Festival at Crystal Palace, in England. Tommy recalled how after the death of Don Drummond his music was found by Lloyd together with his trombone, who put it in the back of his car and drove off. Years later Tommy went through the music as he was familiar with the way Don wrote, he said " I started to put changes to it and things like that and it came out nice". Rodigan replied "Your not kidding, it came out great, not just nice, it's a fabulous album"
His tremendous influence on Ska, it's musicians and music will live on, as will his many recordings, they will be played for many years to come. Listen to Tommy as he tells of his favourite Ska tune...
Tribute To Tommy McCook Track Listing and The Skatalites Heartbeat CD 11661-7716-2 US
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