Tasjay flows with the rhythm

Entertainment

Tasjay flows with the rhythm

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Monday, July 06, 2020

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In the days when he went to dances, Tasjay James Smith remembers rocking to the groove of live rhythms like Dennis Brown's Have You Ever Been In Love . Two years ago, the music producer revisited its beat for a project that became the Outta Jamaica Riddim album.

The 16-song compilation was released in May by Tasjay Productions, the Toronto, Canada-based company Smith has operated since 2003.

Smith approached Sly and Robbie ̶ who produced Have You Ever Been In Love in 1981 ̶ to put a fresh spin on the rhythm. They did so in tandem with the Firehouse Crew's Paul “Wrong Move” Crossdale on keyboards and guitars and Delroy “Fatta” Pottinger as engineer.

“Mi always love Dennis Brown, from ever since, an' mi love dis riddim from mi a little youth. Is a groovy riddim, as yuh hear it yuh want to move...real rub-a-dub,” Smith told the Jamaica Observer.

With Pottinger's assistance, Smith recruited Anthony B ( Rock Steady) and Luciano ( New Sheriff) to record for O utta Jamaica Riddim. He brought in long-time collaborators Rad Dixon, Horace Martin, and Patcha Blacks who recorded Keep The Children Safe, Awake Jah Jah Children, and Magnet to Steel, respectively.

Born in Manchester, Smith was a regular at dances in the 1980's. Oftentimes, he attended with aspiring artistes who made it big a decade later including Garnet Silk, Tony Rebel, Everton Blender, Uton Green, and Kulcha Knox.

A Toronto resident for nearly 30 years, Smith started Tasjay Productions in 2003 to celebrate the birth of his son, Tasjay junior. The label has released songs, albums, and EPs by Dixon, Martin, Patcha Blacks, and Kulcha Knox.

Have You Ever Been in Love was inspired by Lady Lady Lady, a big hit for American soul singer Barbara Acklin. It is one of several classic songs Sly and Robbie produced with Brown for their Taxi label. Others include Sitting and Watching, Revolution and Hold on to What You've Got.

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