Dean salutes Nambo his mentor


Dean salutes Nambo his mentor

Observer senior writer

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

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On the countless recording sessions he and Nambo Robinson played, Dean Fraser said his colleague showed the same passion whether the artiste was established or unknown.

Fraser and Robinson were inseparable musically since they first met at a Jones Town training session in 1969, to the trombonist's death in 2017 at age 67.

They went on many tours together and played on numerous hit songs. But Fraser remembers Robinson most for his selflessness.

“Nambo teach mi fi mentor di youth dem...him was a man who always ready fi help. Nambo used to sleep an' dream music; it was always about di music,” the saxophonist told the Jamaica Observer.

Robinson will be honoured by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association at its annual awards ceremony on February 28.

A committed Muslim, Ronald “Nambo” Robinson hailed from east Kingston, an area pivotal to the development of Jamaican music. He learned at the feet of the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, a traditional Rasta group led by Count Ossie, that was based in Wareika Hills.

He first met Fraser in 1969 at a training camp conducted by music teacher Babe O'Brien. Their maiden recording session together came 10 years later on the Joe Gibbs-produced album, Visions of Dennis Brown.

They became senior members of Brown's band, touring Europe and North America and playing major events like the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Fraser and Robinson played on hit songs such as Ambush in The Night and Wake up And Live (Bob Marley); Johnny B Goode (Peter Tosh); Lift up Your Head (Everton Blender); She's Royal (Tarrus Riley) and That Thing by Lauryn Hill.

One of their most memorable collaborations was the 809 Band, an all-star aggregation that backed acts like Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers.

Though he misses his friend, Fraser always looks at the bright side, as Robinson would have.

“Wi were always out there together. I can't call Nambo a loss; he's a vacancy that can never be filled,” said Fraser.

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