Honorary degrees for Dean Fraser, Stephen Stewart
From left: Mickey Hanson, saxophone player Dean Fraser, studio engineer Stephen Stewart, and Barry Bailey at the graduation ceremony held at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew on Saturday. (Photos: Bryan's Studio Ltd)

VETERAN saxophonist Dean Fraser and studio engineer Stephen Stewart were the recipients of honorary bachelor degrees at a graduation ceremony held at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew on Saturday.

Both men were bestowed with the Bachelor of Music in Performance and Contemporary Music Studies for their continued contribution to Jamaica's cultural development in music.

Fraser was succinct as he thanked the college for the honour and threw out a charge to this year's graduates; "Things of quality have no fear of time," he declared.

Fraser, 64, has been featured on hundreds of recordings since the 1970s. He played on the Joe Gibbs-produced album, Visions of Dennis Brown. He became a senior member of Brown's band, touring Europe and North America and playing major events like the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Fraser also 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.

He was a member of the 809 Band, an all-star aggregation that backed acts like Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers.

The sax player is also the creative musical director for reggae singer Tarrus Riley.

In his presentation Stephen Stewart honoured his mother, the Reverend Dr Carmen Stewart, who supported his journey in music which began at the Jamaica School of Music.

Stewart has worked with an enviable list of artistes who include reggae king Bob Marley and American singer Stevie Wonder.

The special awards at this year's graduation continued with five lifetime achievement awards which went to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields as well as served the college. That list comprises dancer Barbara Requa, musician Ibo Cooper, former head of the School of Visual Arts Hope Brooks, drumming tutor Derrick Stewart, and lecturer emeritus at the School of Drama Eugene Williams.

Honoree Dean Fraser hugs Edna Manley College's Interim Principal Dorrett Campbell at the school's graduation last Saturday.

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