Guitarist Ernest Ranglin (pictured) and trumpeter/keyboardist Sonny Bradshaw-two Jamaican jazz musicians who figured prominently in our recent cover story “From Jazz to Skamania” (July/August 2004)-are being rewarded for their art. Jamaica is bestowing its Order of Jamaica, the nation’s fourth highest honor, on the longtime jazzmen.
Ranglin is one of the creators of ska, the precursor to reggae, but he’s among the finest jazz guitarists ever, having honed his chops in Jamaican jazz-dance bands since the late 1940s. While he hasn’t released an album under his own name since 2001’s Gotcha! (Telarc), Ranglin can be heard in fine form on Monty Alexander’s recent CD, Rocksteady (Telarc). An album on Palm scheduled for release this year, From Trench Town to Alex Town, seems to have gone AWOL. Ranglin says the album has been finished for some time, but Palm has been tinkering with various mixes for about a year.
Bradshaw is a producer, composer, arranger, concert promoter (Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival), bandleader (Jamaica Big Band) and music teacher (Jamaica School of Music and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission), radio broadcaster and the past president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians.
Also to be honored with the Order of Distinction Officer Class (fifth highest honor) are reggae singer John Holt, music producer Sonia Pottinger, dancer Barbara Requa and filmmaker and theatre lighting designer Franklyn St. Juste.
All seven artists will receive their awards on October 19, Jamaica’s National Heroes Day.Originally Published