Victor Cross

The Twinkle Brothers on tour. Victor is in the front row, far right.

Victor Cross, (21 June 1960 – 9 September 2000) was by the early 80s working on recording sessions with the Mad Professor at Ariwa Sounds as part of the Wild Bunch alongside his sister Sandra Cross.


b. 21 June 1960, London, England, d. 9 September 2000, Orleans, France. Multi-instrumentalist Cross was the fourth of seven siblings, many of whom have enjoyed successful musical careers within the UK reggae industry. By the early 80s he was working on recording sessions with the Mad Professor at Ariwa Sounds as part of the Wild Bunch alongside his sister Sandra Cross. In addition to working with the Mad Professor, Cross also recorded alongside the Twinkle Brothers, Mykal Rose, Jah Shaka and Aswad. While regarded as a session musician Cross occasionally recorded as a vocalist and his first solo effort was through Ariwa who released a cover version of the Stylistics' 'Break Up To Make Up'. He also worked alongside his siblings, including Derrick who performed as Slim Linton and Garnett who was another celebrated musician better known as Sergeant Pepper. Victor continued to release sporadic tunes through to the millennium, which resulted in the aptly titled debut, Finally. The album was completed in August 2000 and he embarked on a tour of Europe. In September, prior to the official release of his album, he was involved in a fatal traffic accident.

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The keyboard player Victor Cross, who has died in a road accident aged 40, was one of a handful of musicians who sculpted lovers' rock in the mid-1980s. He was also a singer and musical arranger, equally proficient on bass, guitar and drums.

The fourth of eight children, born in London to Jamaican immigrant parents, Cross worked as a car mechanic after leaving school. In 1981, his younger brother Garnett "Sergeant Pepper" Cross, himself a singer and keyboard player, took him to Ariwa Sounds, the south London recording studio established by the sound engineer and producer Neil Fraser, better known as the "Mad Professor". Victor played every instrument, and provided backing vocals. His style and ability to cover complex American soul material impressed Fraser, who gave him session work.

In 1985, Victor became Ariwa's chief keyboard player and with Black Steel, another multi-instrumentalist, formed the core of the Robotics house band, so named because of the pair's robot-like ability to interpret Fraser's ideas. While a member of the Robotics, Victor played on some of the biggest hits by Kofi and John McLean, and on those of his sister, Sandra Cross. He was also featured on early work by political toaster Macka B.

When Ariwa work tapered off, he joined roots singer Norman Grant's Twinkle Brothers band, and regularly supported live performances by sound system stalwart and religious vocalist Jah Shaka. Victor's talent as a live performer led to work with Bob Andy, Earl 16 and Horace Andy. He was one of the first to play keyboards with Scratch Perry in Britain, and, more recently, supported Michael Rose, of Black Uhuru. Last year, he became a featured member of Aswad's touring band. For Fraser, he played bass and keyboards on Nolan Irie's second album, and contributed to an upcoming release by Love Clinic.

It was while returning from a French festival, with veteran reggae singer Max Romeo, that Victor's tour bus went off the road near Orleans.

In 1990, he married Michelle Josephs, another Ariwa backing vocalist. She survives him, as do their daughter Viquichele Victoria, and his two other children from earlier relationships, Charmaine and Leon. He was a talented and big-hearted man.

Victor Cross, reggae musician, born June 21 1960; died September 9 2000

-- Courtesy (David Katz, --