The Lesser Known Giants

Introducing Zap-Pow to the Next Generation

In 2004 VH1 Cable Television channel produce a television show called Bands Reunited – hosted by Aamer Haleem (Canadian radio and television personality). The show documented attempts of reunion of formerly popular musical ensemble for a special concert. On a typical show, the crew would go out and hunt down the ex-members of the band (often at first in disguise) one-by-one, and convince them to agree for the one-time concert. Each band member was then interviewed, usually focusing on the reasons they left the band. In most cases band reunions happen because someone makes this kind of effort to put the members back together. In other cases reunions can be an excuse for desperate, sometimes “down and out” musicians to attempt to re-live the “glory days”.
The 2016 revival of the legendary reggae band Zap-Pow was different. Although these band members had been apart since 1979, they never really left each other. Over the years they played together in recording sessions and in backing bands as part of the rhythm section for some of Jamaica’s most prominent touring reggae artists. Thus for original band members Dwight Pinkney (guitar), Glen DaCosta (tenor sax), Richard “T Bird” Johnson (keyboards) and Leebert “Gibby” Morrison (bass) getting back together was as easy as saying to each other “it’s time to do this”. The most difficult decision they had to make was selecting the complement of young musicians and singers to complete the band.

Dwight Pinkney

Zap-Pow was originally formed in 1969 and had a ten-year run to 1979. During those years the other prominent members of the band included Beres Hammond on lead vocal, the legendary David Madden (trumpet) and Larry McDonald (congos). Over the years other well-known artists that performed with Zap-Pow included: Max Edwards (drums), Mike Williams (bass), Joe McCormack (trombone), Vin Gordon (trombone) Danny McFarlane (keyboards) and Cornel Marshall (drums). Among the singers who performed with the band were Jacob Miller (Inner Circle), Winston “King” Cole (Winston “Mr. Fixit” Francis) Bunny Rugs and Milton “Prilly” Hamilton (both former front men for Third World Band).
Their biggest domestic hit during the early years was a song called This is Reggae Music. The 1976 albums – Zap-Pow Now and Revolution both made it on to the UK reggae chart. Other albums recorded during the ten-year period include Revolutionary Zap-Pow (1971) and Zap Pow. They also contributed to the collections – Beres Hammond Meets Zap-Pow, Jungle Beat, Love Hits, LMS and Reggae Rules.
In the 2016 edition of the band, they have added the talented Lando Bolt (drums), Everol Wray (trumpet) and Fiona and Geoffrey Forrest on vocal. The 15-track CD titled – Zap-Pow Again produced by Dwight Pinkney was released in October 2017. It Includes eight new original songs, plus seven taken from previously released albums. The new songs were mixed by Grammy award-winning engineer – Christopher Daley (aka the Quite Giant). The remaining seven songs came from several of the group’s classic albums that featured Beres Hammond as lead singer. Songs like This is Reggae Music, World Peace 3 and Let’s Fall in Love introduced Beres to reggae music fans throughout the world.
New CD

The new album is a delight for both traditional and the next generation of fans. It highlights the strengths that brought Zap-Pow to the attention of reggae music lovers and collectors all over the world – their amazingly tight rhythm section – signature horns that are easily identifiable, plus conscious messages that defined the music of early veterans.
More on the band and its availability for bookings is accessible at: onelovemanagement.com.
Email: dwightpinkney2002@yahoo.com or davepeters1963@yahoo.com

DUBTONIC KRU: The Dub Project that Became a Journey

When DUBTONIC KRU was awarded the BEST NEW BAND IN THE WORLD title for 2010-2011 ahead of several hundred of their contemporaries who entered the Global Battle of the Bands competition in Malaysia in February 2011, very few people outside Jamaica and Europe new the name – irrespective of the fact that the band had been creating and play roots reggae music for several years. Since then they have toured more cities in the US and Europe than any other reggae band in recent memory. In the two years after winning the competition (2012 -2013), the band averaged 65 dates per year touring the United States, Europe and Asia. In 2014-2015, the band went back into the studio to produce new music. Thus they averaged approximately half the number of tour dates compared to the previous two years.
Like the famous reggae music duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare (Sly & Robbie), the “heart and soul” of the band are college mates and founding members Deleon “Jubba” White on drums and Strickland “Stone” Stone on bass. These two met while attending the Edna Manley College of Music in Kingston, Jamaica from 1994 – 1997. The duo have been together for approximately sixteen years – gaining more than ten years of early experience touring and recording (like Sly & Robbie) with several artists like Max Romeo, U-Roy, Burning Spear, The Mighty Diamonds, Bushman, Junior Kelly, Richie Spice and Lutan Fyah. During this period they were also the architects of the famous computer-based “I Swear” rhythm that featured multiple artists – including Richie Spice, Chuck Fender, and reggae culture warrior – Sizzla Kalonji.
dubtonis-kru-2
The name Dubtonic comes from consolidation of two terms:  Dub – a reference reserved for the heavy drum and bass of reggae music. It is commonly considered a sub-genre and today extend beyond the scope of reggae with the work of artists such as Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Neil Joseph “Mad Professor” Fraser and more recently – electronic sampler, Major Lazar. The second component of the name comes from the word Tonic – a kind of refreshing, invigorating, restorative agent, food or medicine that improves one’s health and well-being.
The group really blossomed as a hard core roots reggae band in the past eight years with the addition of guitarist/vocalist Omar “Jallanzo” Johnson, Luke Dixon – work station/keyboard and Horace “Kamau” Morgan (the quite warrior) – vocals/percussion**. The group graduated from backing band to producers of some of the most conscious, thought-provoking lyrics backed by the kind of rhythm/dub section that is comparable to the music played by mentors like Lloyd Knibbs, Jackie Jackson and Jah Jerry (original Skatalites) in the 1970s.The music that cemented Jamaica on the world stage as the birthplace of reggae music and the “loudest little island” on earth.
Their musical contributions over the years have earned them a US Congressional Proclamation – presented by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; a Simba Award from the Coalition for Preservation of Reggae Music (CPR) and a People’s Choice Award – presented by Jamaica’s Star – the sole afternoon news paper in the country. Dubtonic Kru is totally committed to raising the bar in reggae music at a time when reggae fans and supporters all over the world are questioning Jamaica’s commitment to maintaining both the content standard and musical quality that Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Third World, Desmond Dekker and others employed to put Jamaica on the map.
Among the band’s releases to date are the following CDs:
Everlasting Love
Dub Conscious
Dubtonic Kru
Evolution
In addition, they have released a number of singles – including the mega hit “Murder”. More information on the band, including their latest touring schedule, is available on their website at:  dubtonickru.com 

** Horace “Kamau” Morgan (the quite warrior), vocalist and percussionist recently resumed his solo recording career (which he placed “on hold” when he joined the band in 2006) under the recording name Kamau Imhotep. His latest single Jah Jah Soldier is making waves on Jamaican radio and on international charts – including on the Kingston12.net new music playlist.
Fans and other readers of this article can also connect with the “Kru” at:
twitter.com/dubtonickru
facebook.com/dubtonickrupage
soundcloud.com/dubtonic-kru
instagram.com/dubtonickru

Leslie Butler Plus Three, We've Only Just Begun

The Butler Does it Again

Jamaica multi-talented keyboard player Leslie Butler’s new album will have its official I-Tunes release on June 9.  The album titled:  We’ve Only Just Begun features classic standards like Witchita Lineman, Love Story, Shaft and the title track.  Butler is one of Jamaica’s least known musical giants.  His classic dub album Ja-Gan (1975) is now a collector’s item. Throughout the years his multi-talents (piano, organ, synthesizer, melotron, flute and clavinet) has more than decorated the works of fellow musicians including: Jimmy Cliff, Ernie Smith, Mark Holder, Max Edwards, Kiddus I, Cedric Myton & the Congos and Bob Andy.