by Howard Campbell, Jamaica Observer
Inner Circle founding members, Roger (left) and Ian Lewis.
NEW YORK, USA -- Pat Chin, co-founder of VP Records, headed a distinguished group of veteran Jamaican musicians and industry contributors who were honoured at the Jamaica College Old Boys Association of New York Silver Anniversary Awards Banquet at the La Guardia Plaza Hotel in Queens here, on Saturday.
Jazz great Monty Alexander, Michael 'Ibo' Cooper, and brothers Ian and Roger Lewis, were among the alumni bestowed with awards.
The Lewises, co-founders of Grammy Award-winning band Inner Circle, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, the brothers said although they were unable to attend the event, they were elated at the gesture.
"It's a very distinguished honour...especially to be in the company of Ibo and Monty. We're sorry we couldn't be there," bass player Ian Lewis told the Observer.
Guitarist Roger Lewis said compared the honour to the Grammy's.
"This is something extra special... not even the Grammy Awards feel this good because at the Grammy's you hardly recognise anyone... with this award, these are people you know and who are acknowledging your work. It feels good," he said.
Formed in 1968, Inner Circle achieved success with singer Jacob Miller in the 1970s. After his death in 1980, the group disbanded and Lewis brothers migrated to the Florida. The band re-formed in 1986 and is known globally for their 1994 Grammy-winning hit song Bad Boys and Sweat (A La La La La Long).
Cooper, co-founder of the 42-year-old reggae group Third World, and Alexander, an accomplished and well-respected jazz musician, also received Distinguished Alumnus Awards.
Chin -- who, along with her husband Vincent, founded VP Records in 1979 -- was given the Community Leadership Award. VP is world's largest distributor of reggae and Caribbean music.
Stephen Hill, co-founder and CEO of CIN TV, was honoured with the Trailblazer Award.