Reggae Trumpet Sounds
Chico Chin
Upstairs Music
August 26, 2012

Reggae Trumpet Sounds - Chico Chin Track list
  1. Trumpet Sound
  2. Summer Breeze
  3. Breaking Up
  4. Cry Me A River
  5. You Can Get It
  6. T.S.O.P
  7. Equinox
  8. Too Experience
  9. Navigator
  10. Marianna
  11. When I Fall In Love
  12. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
  13. Reach Out
  14. Tell Me Now
  15. Miss Pleasant
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Hornsman have always been an integral element in Jamaica's musical history. From the horn and trumpet soaked Ska era to Rocksteady to the "Golden Age" and now in the resurgence of full band sound; horn sections are bubblin'. A senior member of this fraternity is the timeless Junior "Chico" Chin, who has just released his first solo effort, "Reggae Trumpet Sounds" on Danny Breakenridge's superb Upstairs Music label.

Chico Chin has been thriving in Jamaican music for over thirty five years. He started playing trumpet at age 14 under the tutelage of renowned music teacher Babe O'Brien (The Maestro). Ironically, two of his classmates were legends Dean Fraser (saxophone) and Nambo Robinson (trombone). Besides being lifelong bredrin, this musical trio would become a huge part of many important bands. In his early career, he sessioned for a while before settling in as a member of The New Vibrations Band. In 1976, he bounced to the legendary Lloyd Parks & We The People Band (Dennis Brown's house band). This exposure led to numerous opportunities. Since that time, he has played on some of the best records to come out of yard. We're talking about Bob Marley's "Survival", Jimmy Cliff's "Special" and "Humanitarian", numerous Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh , Sly & Robbie and countless other luminaries. In the early 1990's, he helped to found the "809 Band" along with his aforementioned classmates. This backing band truly shined; this reviewer's favourite effort of them backing Gregory Isaacs on his underrated "Pardon Me" album. The combination of Chin/Fraser/Robinson have earned the title "Rass Brass". In recent years, he has been busy with Aston Barrett's Wailers and relocated to South Florida about three years ago. No rest for the blessed!

"Reggae Trumpet Sounds" is a project two years in the making and worth the wait. Musical adversaries include guitar maestro Dwight Pickney, bassist Keith Francis, keyboard king Mallory Williams and fellow hornsmen David Madden, Tony Greene and Calvin Cameron. Great engineering by Hugh Palmer and Neville Prince at such studios as Aquarius and Vybez House. Trumpet Sound draws you right in, despite some heavy drum machine. Chico possesses such depth and range that it supersedes any flaw. The classic Summer Breeze has a good interpretation here; not a standout but worthy effort. We go down memory lane with Alton Ellis's Breaking Up. Chico is capable of trumpeting lyrically and this version is transcended by Mallory's bubblin' and Dwight's expert picking style. Jackie Opel's Cry Me A River is a winner here with David Madden and Tony Greene adding an almost mournful tribute to the late crooner -- yes I! You Can Get It If You Really want It has been versioned many times but this update totally works with the help of backing vox of Michele Gordon. T.S.O.P (The Sound Of Philadelphia) is a crowd pleaser; meks you want to jump and skip and ting a ling!

Jackie Mittoo's Equinox will give you goosebumps; a thumping rendition with Chico allowed to roam freely. Bob Andy's Too Experience is an alltime Jamaican classic! Chico and crew treat this one with the utmost raspect!(If you want to hear a recent Upstairs Music release of Bob Andy; check "ReggaeLand" from 2006). This updating keeps that old time feel fe real. Chico's original Navigator and Marianna (ode to his granddaughter) prove that he can expertly arrange his own compositions big time. Murderin' tunes. Ken Boothe's When I Fall In Love is a national anthem of sorts; can Chico handle it? Yes indeed, it turns out to be the highlight here, positively strong trumpet playing here with a universal appeal in every sense of the word!! Burt Bacharach's Raindrops is just one song that cyaan done inna Reggae style. No disraspect intended. The final tracks are thoughtful works, especially the rendition of Marcia Griffith's Tell Me Now.

"Reggae Trumpet Sounds" is a worthy addition to your collection. It's approach is similar to the acclaimed series of instrumental albums that Dwight Pickney has been putting out for some time now. Chico has had the privilege to play with Reggae's best as well as Soul legends like Percy Sledge, Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin. His worldly experience is shown well here. It helps that he has the production of one of Reggae's most talented producers, Danny Breakenridge. Chico Chin is not one to hog the spotlight but this accomplished solo effort will put him in the starlight. Highly recommended!