Cedric 'Im' Brooks has passed away.

On Friday 3 May 2013, Cedric 'Im' Brooks died from cardiac arrest at New York Hospital in Queens NY. Since February 2010 the Jamaican veteran saxophonist and flautist, had been in a coma-like state, which made that he was unable to speak. His communication was restricted to nodding of the head or eye movement. At the time he fell ill Cedric 'Im' Brooks was touring with The Skatalites, whom he joined in 1999 after the death of Roland Alphonso.

At the age of 11 Brooks became a pupil at the renowned Alpha Boys School, where he learned to play the clarinet, and in his late teens studied tenor saxophone and flute. In the early 1960s he started to play tenor in his first band called The Vagabonds. While being with that group he did his first studio recordings at Federal for Lord Creator. In 1965 he left Jamaica and stayed in the Bahamas and Philadelphia, America, for the next four years. In the Bahamas he played with a couple of groups including Carlos Malcolm's band, Peanut Taylor and a group put together by Teddy Greaves.

In 1969 he returned to Jamaica where he teamed up with trumpeter David Madden with whom he recorded a great series of instrumentals. Some of the best singles, such as "Candid Eye", "Black Is Black" and "Soul Brother", were included on the "Money Maker" LP. Brooks then became a regular studio musician at the legendary Brentford Road studio, playing on many recording sessions, and had several solo singles in the early 1970s. Some of the material he recorded in those days appeared on the 1977 released "Im Flash Forward", Cedric 'Im' Brooks exceptional solo album. It was with Dave Madden and some other musicians that he founded a group called the Mystics. When they started to collaborate with Count Ossie & The African Drummers they called the band The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, which then led to the recording of the highly regarded triple LP-Set "Grounation".

In 1974 Brooks left The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari to form a new band, Cedric Brooks & The Divine Light (later called The Light of Saba). After a single, "Demauungwani", the group recorded their first album for the Institute of Jamaica called "From Mento to Reggae to Third World Music", a collection exploring the history of Jamaican music, incorporating mento, junkanoo, ska, rocksteady, and reggae. The band made two further albums of jazz-influenced Rastafarian reggae, "The Light of Saba" and "The Light of Saba in Reggae". Shortly after this Brooks left The Light of Saba and assembled a new band of musicians to record the "United Africa" album. During the 1980s and 1990s, he released a few singles but largely worked as a session musician. In particular, he worked with Carlos Malcolm in San Diego, California, in 1998 as part of a 20-piece ska and mento orchestra known as "Zimbobway's King Kingston Orchestra".

His thorough understanding of Jamaica's musical heritage, and the innovative and organic way in which he has built on that foundation to extend its scope, ensures the longevity of his music.

Sources: The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, The Rough Guide To Reggae, More Axe 9, and Wikipedia.
Cedric 'Im' Brooks
19433 May 2013




SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Solo:
  • Im Flash Forward (1977)
  • United Africa (1978)
Wth Dave Madden:
  • Money Maker (1970)
With Count Ossie & the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari:
  • Grounation (1973)
  • Tales of Mozambique
  • One Truth
With The Light of Saba:
  • The Light Of Saba (1974)
  • From Mento to Reggae to Third World Music (1975)
  • The Light Of Saba in Reggae (197?)
With the Skatalites:
  • Bashaka (2000)
  • From Paris With Love (2002)
  • The Skatalites In Orbit, Vol. 1 (2005)
  • On The Right Track (2007)