Veteran saxophonist Cedric Brooks dies

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Cedric Brooks, the influential saxophonist who worked with some of the biggest names in roots-reggae, has died.

Brooks, who had been in a coma-like state since February, 2010, died Friday from cardiac arrest at New York Hospital in Queens.

He was 70 years old.

His sister Paulette Keise told the Jamaica Observer that Brooks was unable to speak for the last three years.

His communication was restricted to nodding of the head or eye movement.

Like many Jamaican horn players, Brooks got his training as a musician at the Alpha Boys School in Kingston.

One of his first major recordings was Burning Spear's debut album for Studio One.

Along with another Alpha old boy, trumpeter David Madden, Brooks had two big hit songs in the instrumentals Money Maker and Mystic Mood.

In the 1970s, he collaborated with Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari and led his own band, Light of Saba.

At the time he fell ill Brooks was touring with pioneer ska band, The Skatalites.

Cedric Brooks is survived by seven children and four sisters.

-Howard Campbell

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