Entertainment

Pioneer Hedley Jones is dead

Monday, September 04, 2017

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PIONEER musician-engineer Hedley Jones is dead.

The 99-year-old's death in Montego Bay was confirmed on social media by his son, Art Jones. He, however, did not say how he died.

“It is with deep regret that I am announcing the death of Hedley Jones, OD. Dad passed away today, September 1st, at approximately 3:30 pm. He was ninety-nine,” Jones's Facebook page read.

As news of his passing started to circulate among his peers, many of them gave their best recollections of the man whom they hailed as a “stalwart”.

“Hedley was a gigantic man where music is concerned. I have known him from I was a child, but never really met him until about 15 years ago when he was honoured at 'Tribute to the Greats'. He was quite an unsung hero,” music insider Kingsley Goodison told Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Tribute to the Greats is an award show conceptualised by Goodison to laud Jamaica's finest musicians, many of whom are unsung.

Goodison said Jones was not only a talented musican but also an innovator and inventor.

“Not only did he make Clement “Coxsone” Dodd's Studio One studio (in 1962), sound system amplifiers, and other musical instruments, but he was the engineer who helped to build the traffic lights in Jamaica. People were in awe and everyone came out to see it in Kingston, “ he said.

Jones also did recording sessions there as a guitarist.

The St Catherine-born Jones served as a radar engineer with the Royal Air Force in World War II. Returning to Jamaica in the late 1940s, he opened Bop City, a radio service store on King Street in downtown Kingston.

Jones built amplifiers for early sound systems, including Thomas Wong's The Great Sebastian.

He was vice-president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians from 1968-85 and president from 1985-95. In 1993, Jones was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country's music.

Eighteen years later, he received a Gold Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. In 2014, Jones received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association.

— Simone Morgan-Lindo

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