Cedric Im Brooks is an old boy of the Alpha School in Kingston, Jamaica, alongside alumni like Don Drummond, Johnny Moore and Tommy McCook of The Skatalites, jazzmen Joe Harriott and Harold McNair, and too many other musical giants to mention. He was a member of The Vagabonds, before Jimmy James moved the group to England, and during the sixties toured Caribbean hotels and clubs with various big bands and combos. His own musical horizons — especially the new jazz music — were increasingly distant from these constrained commercial contexts; and he eagerly accepted an invitation to visit a friend in the U.S.
In Philadelphia, Cedric was awe-struck by the music and vibes of the Sun Ra Arkestra. He was on the point of joining the commune when the birth of his second daughter necessitated his return to Jamaica. Amazingly, though rocksteady was in full swing on the island, Cedric took up Ra’s challenge by starting The Mystics, to experiment with free jazz and poetry, African robes and dancers.
During this period, Cedric’s long association with Studio One produced the hit single ‘Money Maker’; and his musical direction of Count Ossie’s Mystic Revelation of Rastafari was commemorated by the classic Grounation triple-LP set, before his frustrations with purely rasta patterns encouraged him to set up The Light of Saba, to go into other aspects of African drumming.
Taking leads from Hugh Masekela and Fela Kuti, the recordings of Cedric Im Brooks and The Light of Saba delineate ‘world music’ way ahead of its time. They offer a blend of African and US, Cuban and other West Indian influences — calypso and funk, rumba and bebop, nyabinghi and disco — magnificently expressed as classic reggae. This compilation is drawn from extremely rare singles and LPs.
‘Mystical, uplifting, sensual, difficult. If you like your reggae
deep and dark, with splashes of primitive funk and a real feel for roots, then this is for you’ (Record Collector).
‘One for those who think they’ve heard it all’ (Mojo).
|Lambs Bread Collie|
|Free Up Black Man|
|Salt Lane Rock|
|Rasta Lead On Version|
|Satta Massa Gana|
|Words Of Wisdom|
|Jah Light It Right|
|Song For My Father|