Cedric Brooks is dead

Howard Campbell

Monday, May 06, 2013

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CEDRIC 'Im' Brooks, the influential saxophonist who fused music and spirituality, died Friday in the United States.

Brooks, who had been in a coma-like state since February 2010, died from cardiac arrest at New York Hospital in Queens.

He was 70 years old.

His sister Paulette Keise told the Jamaica Observer that Brooks was unable to speak for the last three years.

His communication was restricted to nodding of the head or eye movement.

Like many Jamaican horn players, Brooks got his training as a musician at the Alpha Boys' School in Kingston.

One of his first major recordings was Burning Spear's debut album for Studio One.

Along with another Alpha old boy, trumpeter David Madden, Brooks had two big hit songs in the instrumentals Money Maker and Mystic Mood.

In the 1970s, he collaborated with Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari and led his own band, Light of Saba.

His time with those bands reflected Brooks' deep spirituality and Afro-centric beliefs.

"Cedric came up during the dying days of the horn-driven band, so he had to find a new expression. The result was, he came
up with a sound that was singular," said Herbie Miller, curator of the Jamaica Music Museum.

At the time that he got sick, Brooks was touring with pioneer ska band, The Skatalites.

Cedric Brooks is survived by seven children and four sisters.

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