Nambo Robinson: A Giant who played with Grace
The reggae music fraternity just lost another true musical genius. While he was mostly thought of as a session musician, Nambo Robinson was often part of the horn section that was responsible for making many reggae songs into mega hits. He was a veteran trombonist, all-round musician, vocalist, percussionist and a true professional. He was the ultimate teacher and musicians’ and artists’ musician.
Nambo was born in 1949 in east Kingston, where he began his musical journey playing with the legendary Mystic Revelation of Rastafari band. In the late 1970s he played on several of Bob Marley’s hit albums, including Survival and Confrontation and Buffalo Soldier. He was a member of Jamaica’s top reggae band – Lloyd Parks and We the People for many years. His resume also includes stints with bands such as The Tony D’Acosta Affair, The Boris Gardener Happening and Light of Saba.
He later became a founding member (with his brother from another mother – Dean Fraser) of the 809 Band, which also included singer Desi “Desi Roots” Young and bassist Michael Fletcher. He also played and toured with Sly and Robbie’s Taxi Gang – playing on several of their mega hits with artists such as The Tamlins, Black Uhuru and the late Jimmy Riley.
In addition to Marley, throughout the years Nombo has recorded with most of the top recording artists in Jamaica. These include Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Beres Hammond, Shaggy, and Buju Banton. His international credits include live performances with Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and The Four Tops, and recording sessions with Lauryn Hill. Nambo was as comfortable on the stage playing Jazz and R & B, as he was playing reggae.
He recently launched a series of live stage shows that feature young Jamaica musicians. The project was designed to showcase young talented musicians while celebrating the various genres of indigenous music such as Mento, Ska and Rocksteady.
Robinson released four solo albums/CDs, titled “Reggae in my Bone”, “Nambone Ska”,” Nambo Sing and Play” and “Raw Roots Rock Reggae”.
Ronald “Nambo” Robinson died peacefully in his sleep on the early morning of January 25, 2017. He was only 67 years young. He is survived by his wife Marcia and three children.