Ernie, Monty for charity

BY BASIL WALTERS
Observer writer

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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Pianist Monty Alexander and guitarist Ernie Ranglin will be preforming at a charity concert slated for the Jamaica Pegasus hotel ballroom in New Kingston on Sunday, July 1.

Starting time is 7:00 pm.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the McCam Child Care and Development Centre.

Dr Pauline Watson Campbell, executive director at McCam, said she is ecstatic that these two highly respected musicians have agreed to support the centre's cause.

“Having both artistes together on the same stage is indeed a rare treat, and we are, of course, thrilled to be able to present this fantastic concert to the Jamaican people, but even happier that it will benefit the most vital programme at the McCam Centre,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

The concert is under the patronage of former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, businessman Glen Christian and banker Earl Jarrett, all of whom have given yeoman's support in the area of education, from the early childhood to the tertiary levels, in Jamaica.

With over 70 albums to his credit, Alexander has traversed a wide array of musical terrain. His most recent appearance in Jamaica was in 2016, headlining a special Homecoming Benefit show in aid of the UWI Global Giving Initiative. He has also amassed an enviable list of friends and collaborators, having performed with just about every major figure in jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Sonny Rollins, Milt Jackson, Quincy Jones, Bobby McFerrin and, of course, his long-time friend and compatriot Ranglin.

Alexander's Harlem-Kingston Express Vol 1, released in 2011 was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Reggae Album category.

Ranglin, who turns 86 this year, has cut back on his performing and touring obligations, but remains a vital and revered force in studio session.

Born into a musical family in Manchester in 1932, Ranglin took to the guitar from an early age and became more proficient once he heard the recordings of jazz guitar legends Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. Moving to Kingston, he would be lured by the then burgeoning dance band scene of the day; joining first the Val Bennett Orchestra, before moving to the Eric Deans Orchestra, then touring around the Caribbean to as far north as The Bahamas — where he met the legendary Les Paul.

Ranglin used those experiences to boost his own career as a bandleader, leading his own quartets on the north coast where he impressed, among others, Chris Blackwell. That led to in-house work with Island Records and placed Ranglin in “the front row” of all Jamaica's significant pop music developments, from ska to reggae, including Millie Small's smash hit cover of My Boy Lollipop. Ranglin later served as musical director for another Jamaican musical legend, Jimmy Cliff.

Opened 30 years ago, the McCam Centre is located in the Hope Estate area of Papine, St Andrew. It provides a unique environment that is conducive to learning, where children with special needs and those without can work and play together in an inclusive surrounding, allowing them to become aware of and sensitive to each other's needs.

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