THE PIED PIPER of KINGSTON
Preview for Lee Scratch Perry concerts, at the Jazz Cafe
Dear Reader, how or whom would you define as genius? My trusted companion, the Reader's Digest Universal Dictionary, states amongst other sentences 'Exceptional or transcendent intellectual and creative power. Surely that can be applied to Lee Scratch Perry :especially when seminal figures of Jamaican music, such as Bob Marley, Max Romeo and Junior Delgado, have described him as ''a genius''.
At age eighty, the flow of his brilliance doesn't appear to be abating. When you see him onstage, he is the sprightly one: high kicking in the joy of performance. He reminds me of the opening lines from the Dylan Thomas poem – Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' - written to his ageing father.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
With his red-dyed hair hair – last time I saw him at the Jazz Cafe, it was red, gold and green - rainbow coloured attire and idiosyncratic choice of headwear, this icon of the free spirit, is not going ''gently into the night''.
The greatest of all the pied pipers, so many followed him to the door of the Black Ark Studios: Congos, Junior Byles, Mighty Diamonds, Gregory Issacs and the Gladiators, to name a few. There at the Ark, they interacted with brilliance and mingled with innovation. They heard the legendary piper across the waters too. We know that, because of the productions that came from the studios of Mad Professor and Adrian Sherwood.
A few years ago, as a member – percussionist - of Dubwiser, an Oxford-based band, we supported him at the Camden venue. Coming off stage on the first night of three, as I stepped into the dressing room, he was coming out! I remember what I said to him, but can't remember his reply! I just stood there: looking into the face of history, before it was gone.
Gregory titled his record label African Museum. Perry could rightly be called Jamaican Museum, as his life and contributions, embody the history of the modern music, of that island nation.
I'm looking forward to the upcoming gigs at the Jazz Cafe, a venue which is a generator of intimacy. Jamaican music has produced a plethora of brilliant people, but if it has produced a genius, its Lee Scratch Perry. Anyway, who am I to disagree, when Bob Marley has spoken! Like him, I shall follow the Pied Piper: and reap the benefits from the encounter with the man, who married music with magic.
(c) Natty Mark Samuels, 2016, The Dub.
Lee Scratch Perry concerts, at the Jazz Cafe - October 2016
The Jazz Cafe
October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016
More info at the Jazz Cafe's website
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Celebrating the early Black journalists and roots reggae songwriters
written by Natty Mark on Reggaediscography