Lloyd Brevett, the Skatalites’ inimitable double bass player, has died following complications from a recent stroke.
As The Washington Post report, Brevett fell ill in March following the murder of his son in Kingston. Anyone lucky enough to have seen The Skatalites live will be able to testify to Brevett’s remarkable charisma. His on-stage presence – gnarled and formidable – was matched by his impressive bass playing. In the words of former Prime Minister (and one-time Skatalites tour manager) P.J. Patterson, “to say that Brevett was a creator of both ska and dub is not to use hyperbole”.
From 1963-5, The Skatalites established a reputation as one of Jamaica’s all-time great ska groups. Their LPs from the period include Ska Authentic and Ska Boo-Da-Ba, and their take on ‘The Guns Of Navarone’ – which would go on to become their signature tune – broached the UK Top 40. The group also worked with the likes of Desmond Dekker, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and an early version of The Wailers. They reassembled in the 1980s, and have toured intermittently ever since.