Jerome "Jah Jerry" Haynes OD (11 August 1921 - 13 August 2007) was a Jamaican guitarist and former member of The Skatalites.
Haynes was born in Trench Pen, presently known as Trench Town, the cultural capital of Jamaica, in 1921. He learned to play guitar from early years by his father and then by Ernest Ranglin. In 1949 he played with Jocelyn Trott Orchestra in Montego Bay.
This prepared him for his sojourn into organized playing when he hit the hotel circuit playing with the Jocelyn Trott Orchestra in Montego Bay, in 1949. In the mid-1950s he freelanced with several other bands (including saxophonist Val Bennett's jazz band) until he joined the Arkland "Drumbago" Park Studio Band. His upward "stumming" of the guitar became the signature style in the Boogie Shuffle/Ska.
In 1959 Haynes worked with Prince Buster and played guitar in many sessions. In 1961, he was contracted exclusively to Coxsone Dodd, though he played for other producers, such as Duke Reid, King Edwards the Giant and Lyndon Pottinger. In 1964 he was one of The Skatalites founders and played with them until 1965. He was featured on Rico Rodriguez' That Man Is Forward album. Two years later, he joined the reformed Skatalites at the Reggae Sunsplash festival.
Haynes left the Skatalites in 1986 and lived in relative anonymity in Jones Town.
Jah Jerry, O.D, as a member of the Skatalites, was one of the first twelve inductees in the Jamaica Music Hall of Fame sponsored by the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artists and Affiliates in 2008. In 2010, he was honored by the Jamaican Government on National Heroes Day and was posthumously awarded the "Order of Distinction" at King's House for his contribution to the development of Jamaican music. Jah Jerry was also a songwriter and a pioneer musician who helped create Jamaica's first indigenous music. He was a legengary guitarist who added jazz chords to the music and rapidly and repeatedly shifted these chords which was unheard of during that time.
After the breakup of the Skatalites, Jah Jerry had continued working as a session musician. He played on the album, Top Secret, with Tommy Mccook and Supersonics in the 1960s. He recorded several hit songs in the 1970s, including "Black Star liner" by Fred Locks, "The Gorgon" by Cornell Campbell and "Satta MassaGana" by the Abyssinians. When the original Skatalites reunited in the 1980s,minus Don Drummond (deceased 1969), Jah Jerry played with the band at Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica (1983) and in England (1984). They recorded three albums: Return of the Big Guns, Stretching Out and Rolling Steady. He also toured with the band in the United States and performed in New York at the Village Gate and SOB. While living in New York, Jah Jerry did session works for Sir Clement Dodd at his studio in Brooklyn. Dodd was a legendary producer and owner of the Studio One in Jamaica. Jah Jerry retired in the year 2000, his career spanning over 50 years which covered various musical genre: Mento; Boggie/Shuffle; SKA; Rock Steady and Reggae. He recorded hundreds of songs during his musical tenure and worked with the cream of Jamaican producers and musicians. He was a member of the following bands: Prince Buster's Allstars, Drumbago Allstars, Duke Reid Group, Beverly's Allstars, King Edwards, various Studio One outfits, and of course the great Skatalites. The Skatalites were the musicians instrumental in the developing the Ska beat as well as the Rock Steady and Reggae beat.
He played on a host of vintage and classic songs, such as "Be Still", "Oh Carolina", "Simmer Down", "Carry Go Bring Come", "One love", "Humpty Dumpty", "Wash, Wash", "Blazing Fire", "Man in the Street", "Eastern Standard Time", "Rough and Tough", just to name a few. He played on the first-ever recording sessions for many Jamaican artists who became famous. These artists included Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Millie Smalls, Prince Buster, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, Toots and the Maytals, Derrick Morgan, Justin Hinds and the Dominoes, and Stranger Cole.
-- Courtesy (Wikipedia) --
'Jah Jerry' Haynes --- Guitarist pioneer of Jamaican ska
Guitarist Jerome "Jah Jerry" Haynes, who has died aged 86 following a brief illness, was a founding member of the Skatalites, the most important set of session musicians in Jamaica during the late 1950s and early 1960s. As leading exponents of ska, the island's first indigenous form of semi-electric popular music, they were central to the development of the country's cultural identity before and after independence in 1962. Jerry's rapid rhythm chords, strummed in a choppy manner, his thumb on a battered acoustic to emphasise the second and fourth beats of every measure, defined its rhythm.
Known as "Jah Jerry" because of his Rastafarianism, Jerry spent much of his life in Jones Town, a west Kingston ghetto that borders Trench Town, from which many of Jamaica's best-known artists emerged. In 1948, having tried to teach himself the rudiments of music on his father's guitar, he sought the tutelage of Ernest Ranglin, one of the island's most gifted players.
In the mid-1950s, he joined saxophonist Val Bennett's jazz band before playing in bands active on the hotel circuit frequented by tourists and upper-class Jamaicans. Eventually, he joined forces with drummer Arkland "Drumbago" Parks at a time when various Kingston businessmen and sound-system personnel began recording local players. Jerry's first recording session, arranged by Drumbago, yielded Count Boysie's Special, made specially for Count Boysie the Monarch, a sound system based at West Street, Kingston, but the song was retained as a demonstration acetate and never publicly released.
By 1959, partly through his connection with Drumbago, Jerry became associated with Prince Buster, a sound-system operator and aspiring vocalist about to enter record production himself; at Buster's first recording session, he is said to have told Jerry to "change gear", resulting in Jerry's trademark rhythmic strumming, as heard on landmarks such as Derrick Morgan's Shake a Leg, Buster's own They've Got to Go and the Folkes Brothers' hugely popular Oh Carolina. Producer Leslie Kong also made use of Jerry's talents on early hits by Jimmy Cliff and Desmond Dekker.
In 1961, Jerry was contracted exclusively to Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd, founder of the Studio One group of labels and recording facility, though he continued moonlighting for other producers. He played on the first session arranged by Vincent "Randy" Chin and on rivals such as Duke Reid, King Edwards the Giant and Lyndon Pottinger. After the break-up of the Skatalites, he remained largely absent from the scene until 1981, when he was featured on trombonist Rico Rodriguez's That Man Is Forward album. Two years later, the reformed Skatalites played at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in Jamaica; its led to US dates and the Return of the Big Guns album (1984).
Jerry left the Skatalites in 1986 to live in relative anonymity in Jones Town.
Jerome 'Jah Jerry' Haynes, guitarist, born August 11 1921; died August 13 2007
-- Courtesy (The Guardian) --