Producer Trevor Elliott becomes deejay King Bassa
As someone who came of age in Jamaica during the 1970s, Trevor Elliott is an unapologetic apostle of roots-reggae. Indeed, that sound dominates the catalogue of his Musical Ambassador label.
Best known for producing songs by Edi Fitzroy, Jah Walton (now Joseph Cotton) and Johnny Ringo, Elliott recently became an artiste. He made his debut as deejay King Bassa with the songs, ‘Every Morning That I Rise’ and ‘Nuh Touch Mi Style’. Both songs feature the toaster’s style he grew up on in Jamaica.
Based in Gainesville, Florida, King Bassa said he was encouraged to launch his artiste career after cutting a promo jingle for Prince Thierry, a Disc Jockey for radio Mega 99.2 in Valance, France.
“A friend of mine from over in Holland said he heard I did a little special for Prince Thierry and he think I have di ability to do it (a song) for him, so I started penetrating di riddim and see what di riddim was talking to me and how I would approach it,” King Bassa recalled.
With some coaching from Vernon Maytones (of The Maytones), who told him to edit the initial draft of ‘Every Morning That I Rise’, he recorded his first official song on the legendary Drifters riddim.
Given his years as a producer with singers like Edi Fitzroy and deejays such as Jah Walton, King Bassa said there were no nerves when he made his maiden run as an artiste.
“I wasn’t really nervous ‘cause I’ve been in di studio quite a lot, so I’m familiar with di surroundings. I wanted my timing to be perfect and not off-key,” he said. “So, not really nervous, apprehensive a little bit if I’m doing the right thing and what kind of response I was gonna get.”
Trevor Elliott was employed as a sound technician with the government-run Jamaica Information Service (JIS) when he seriously got into music in the late 1970s. He was a regular at dances by the Gemini and Jah Love sound systems, and admired deejays such as U Roy, Johnny Ringo and Brigadier Jerry.
But it was as a producer that he made his name, particularly with Fitzroy in the early 1980s. An accountant with the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, Fitzroy broke through with ‘Miss Molly’, produced by Michael “Mikey Dread” Campbell.
He then cut a succession of chart-riders for Musical Ambassador including the uplifting ‘Princess Black’, ‘Check For Yuh Once’ and ‘Youthman Penitentiary’. Fitzroy died in Jamaica in 2017 at age 61.
In recent years, King Bassa (as Trevor Elliott) has delved into his Musical Ambassador archives and released a posthumous album by Fitzroy (‘The Beginning & The End: Alpha And Omega’), as well as a tribute album to Sugar Minott (‘Sweet Like Sugar’).