Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin – Two Colors – Album

Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin - Two Colors - Album

Two giants of Jamaican music, Ernie Ranglin and Dean Fraser’s paths have crossed many times over the years. On stage or in the recording studio.

Although they previously collaborated, it was not on the magnitude of “Two Colors: Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin”, the album you have in your possession. Ranglin’s patented guitar licks complemented by Fraser’s distinctive saxophone tones on 12 songs, several of which are dedicated to Ranglin.

Fraser oversaw production of the project. He recorded his parts in Kingston while Ranglin lay his tracks in Ocho Rios, rural Jamaica, near to his home.

Although they did not share studio space, Fraser enjoyed the sessions.

“Mr. Ranglin is a man of my own vibe. Always laughing, giving jokes, yet playing as great as he can. He just wants to play good music,” he said.

‘Two Colors’ is the idea of Tad Dawkins Senior, principal of Tad’s International Record, distributors of the album. Production started in early 2021 and took one year to complete.

A project showcasing two stellar musicians requires a strong supporting cast. That’s exactly what Fraser assembled; Mikey Fletcher and Dale Haslam on bass; keyboardists Andre Marsh and Bowie McLaughlin; guitarist Lamont “Monty” Savory and drummer Desi Jones can also be heard on ‘Two Colors’.

Ernie Ranglin is the Godfather of Jamaican music. He has played on numerous hit songs including “My Boy Lollipop” by Millie Small, The Wailers’ “It Hurts to be Alone” and “Stranger in Love” by John Holt.

He has toured with Jimmy Cliff as musical director and recorded a number of well-received albums. Ranglin was awarded the Order of Jamaica, his country’s fifth-highest honour.

Fraser is from the fabled community of Trench Town where The Wailers (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston) honed their legendary harmonies and songwriting.

For the the past 45 years, he has played on some of the great reggae songs including “Baltimore” by The Tamlins, “Lift up Your Head” by Everton Blender and “It’s me Again Jah” by Luciano.

Fraser, who has recorded and toured with Dennis Brown, Luciano and Tarrus Riley, is a recipient of the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s sixth-highest honour.

Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin featuring Big Youth – De Ranglin

Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin featuring Big Youth - De Ranglin

Two Colors is a collaborative album between guitar legend Ernie Ranglin and saxophonist Dean Fraser, released on May 27th by Tad’s International Record. The 12-song set contains mainly instrumentals, all produced by Fraser.
The album is significant in that it pairs two of Jamaica’s most respected musicians, both of whom have worked with reggae’s greats including Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff.
Deejay Big Youth, another reggae stalwart, is featured on De Ranglin, lead single from Two Colors which will be available on all digital platforms one month before Ranglin’s 90th birthday.
Production on Two Colors actually started in early 2021, with Fraser recording his lines in Kingston while Ranglin did his in Ocho Rios. They worked with an elite cast of musicians including bass guitarists Mikey Fletcher and Dale Haslam, keyboardists Bowie McLaughlin and Andre Marsh, drummer Desi Jones and guitarist Lamont “Monty” Savory.
Ranglin is a giant of Jamaican music. He developed his distinctive jazz riffs in the 1940s, playing in bands like the Eric Deans Orchestra and listening to greats like German guitarist Django Reinhardt.
His many achievements include arranging and playing on classic songs like Millie Small’s My Boy Lollipop and The Wailers’ It Hurts to be Alone. Ernie Ranglin is the recipient of the Order of Jamaica, Jamaica’s fifth highest honour.
Fraser is from Trench Town where Ranglin once taught guitar to young residents. Since the mid-1970s, he has recorded or toured with Marley, Dennis Brown, Sly and Robbie, Freddie McGregor, Buju Banton, Luciano and Tarrus Riley.
He was awarded the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s sixth highest honour.
Two Colors is produced by Dean Fraser & Tad ‘Jr. Tads’ Dawkins.

Written by Howard Campbell

Naomi Cowan & Carlene Davis – Santa Claus Do You Ever Come to the Ghetto

Naomi Cowan & Carlene Davis - Santa Claus Do You Ever Come to the Ghetto

‘Santa Clause do You Ever come To The Ghetto’ this new version is not just a cover it is a refreshing, in other words, a reminder, a conscious reflection that the more things change, the more it remains the same and most times in a worst way.
Yes, it was forty years ago and when you check it crime has become worst, there is a food crisis, the education system is setting us back by generations into a mental and physical slavery especially among the most vulnerable and the under-privileged. Forty years on we are compelled to ask the same question ‘Santa Claus Do You Ever Come To the Ghetto’. Society do we care?
For these reasons the Cowans have refreshed the song, ‘cause we need people to listen, we need to impact the system, the society with the fact that we see their advancement, we see their success, a lot of it riding on our backs.’
The tracks are forty years old and so to preserve the original music we had to use a method referred to as ‘baking’ of the original tape and thus enhancing the original authentic sound using the original tracks featuring Carlene Davis on lead vocals, Lloyd Parkes on bass, Devon Richardson on drums, Winston ‘BoPee’ Bowen on guitar, with some overdubbing by the original players. In addition Naomi Cowan is featured on lead vocals, Dean Fraser on saxophone, Lamont ‘Monty’ Savory on acoustic & pick guitar. Dave Green updated the sound on the drums while Franklyn ‘Bubbler’ Waul who played the original piano/synthesizer/organ returned with his spritely chops to brighten the keyboards.
VP Records got very excited when we choose them to release the song which will be on all digital platforms as of Friday, November 19th through VPal Music.

Flat Bridge by Jamaican Saxophonist Dean Fraser

Flat Bridge by Jamaican Saxophonist Dean Fraser

Legendary Jamaican Saxophonist, Dean Fraser, Releases Flat Bridge Album

As a student of Jamaican music, Dean Fraser is passionate about its past as its future. That is the main reason he wanted to record an album of original songs covering the evolution of reggae.

Flat Bridge is that album’s title. Co-produced by the acclaimed saxophonist and Tad Dawkins Jr., it is Fraser’s third album for Tad’s International Record.
“One of the things wi losing in our music is the instrumental vibe. Wi have a sound and a style as a Caribbean people, and we should keep the tradition going,” he said.

It is a tradition started by musicians Fraser looked up to as a young musician, including saxophonist Tommy McCook, keyboardists Jackie Mittoo and Winston Wright and guitarist Ernie Ranglin.

The 13 songs on Flat Bridge were cut at Tad’s International Record’s studio in Kingston, Jamaica in 2020 during the Coronavirus lockdown. The project has input from drummer Sly Dunbar, bass player Flabba Holt, keyboardist Franklin “Bubbler” Waul and guitarist Lamont Monty Savory.
They worked on songs like the title track, Hope Road, I Command You (featuring keyboardist Andrew Marsh) and Zah Zah which highlights the skills of trumpeter Okiel McIntyre.

Fraser said another objective was to showcase younger musicians. He was afforded similar opportunities early in his career by established players like McCook, Bob Marley and Dennis Brown.

“Wi bring these youths forward so the music can continue,” he said.

Dean Fraser is one of the faces of modern Jamaican music. He has played on countless classic songs including Wake up And Live and Trench Town by Marley; Love Has Found its Way and Inseparable by Dennis Brown; Peter Tosh’s Johnny B. Goode; Lift up Your Head by Everton Blender; She’s Royal by Tarrus Riley and That Thing by Lauryn Hill.

That resume has earned him the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican government and a Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. Fittingly, in 2020, he was recognised by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association with its Mentorship Award for his role in nurturing the development of aspiring musicians.

Dean Fraser – Nyabinghi Christmas

Nyabinghi Christmas - Dean Fraser

IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas for Dean Fraser. Nyahbinghi Christmas , that is.

That’s the title of the saxophonist’s first Yuletide album, scheduled for release in November by Tad’s International Record. It has 16 Christmas songs, driven by traditional Rastafarian rhythms.

Fraser began production on the instrumental project last year with co-producer Tad Dawkins Jr.

“Nyahbinghi is Jamaican music, an’ I want to bring a new instrumentation to these songs. Wi keep it musical but with a different vibe,” Fraser told the Jamaica Observer.
Some of the popular songs that receive the ‘binghi’ treatment are When a Child is Born, Christmas A Cum (Mi Waa Mi Llama), Long Time Ago, Santa Ketch Up Inna Mango Tree, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Auld Lang Syne.

For the authentic Nyahbinghi feel, Fraser brought in percussionists Congo Billy, Hector Lewis and Denver “Feluke” Smith. The sessions were some of the last for Smith who died in September from colon cancer.

Bassist Mikey Fletcher, guitarists Dario Morgan and Lamont Savory, keyboardist Andrew Marsh and flautist Zoe Mcintyre also played on the songs.
Fraser has done a number of albums, including instrumental tributes to Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. He also played on Christmas albums by other artistes but the thought of doing one for himself never came up until last year.

“I wouldn’t say Christmas is my favourite time of di year; only thing I love about Christmas is di songs…they are well-written and worth listening,” he said.

Written by: Howard Campbell

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