Matumbi's Webby Jay is dead

Matumbi's Webby Jay is dead

Observer senior writer

Monday, August 24, 2020

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Webster “Webby Jay” Johnson, best known as keyboardist with British reggae band Matumbi, died in the United Kingdom on August 17.

Johnson, who was born in the United Kingdom to Jamaican parents, was 67.

He joined Matumbi in 1977 and remained a member until it disbanded in 1982. Johnson played on most of their five studio albums including the 1978 debut, Seven Seals.

Johnson had a minor hit song in the UK as a singer in 1979 with a cover of The Dramatics' In The Rain.

Drummer Euton Jones, an original member with Matumbi, said he last saw Johnson four months ago. He described him as a “cool and humble character. Webby Jay could play anything...he was the real man”.

Errol Melbourne, former drummer with Matumbi, remembers his colleague as “one of the kindest people anyone could meet; and he was a wonderful, pleasant humane, down to earth individual. As a musician, he was a highly talented keyboard, piano and organ player singer/producer and a pleasure to work with”.

In addition to his time with Matumbi, Johnson did session work with Linton Kwesi Johnson, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, and soul singer Edwin Starr.

Johnson also led a three-member group called Surkus in the Netherlands from 1991 to 1994.

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