Gordon In The Garden Vol. 1
Vin Gordon
Masaya Records
April 25, 2008

Track list
  1. Addis A Rasta
  2. African Thing
  3. Stepping In
  4. Stepping In Dub
  5. See You
  6. Race Track
  7. Jones Town Special
  8. Double Take
  9. Double Take Dub
  10. Heavy Skank
  11. Melodies In The Hill
  12. Melodies In The Hill Dub
  13. Stone Valley Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Lead Instruments : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
58 year old Vin Gordon (also known as Trommie, Don D. Junior, or Don Drummond Jr.) is one out of many musicians who has played a prominent role in Jamaica's musical history. Although sometimes overlooked, as is the case with most players of instruments, it's obvious that his trombone play has added a special flavor to the recordings of renown artists like Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Max Romeo, and Culture as well as countless lesser known artists from the island. This was all because of Vin Gordon being the main trombonist for a handful of session house bands including The Revolutionaries, The Aggrovators, The Professionals, The Upsetters, The Intimidators and Black Disciples, that recorded the majority of music throughout 1974-79, a period which is regarded as the heydays of Roots Reggae.

In 1964 Vin Gordon started playing with The Skatalites at a street dance in Wellington Street, Kingston JA, and the next year he was brought into the legendary Studio One by Roland Alphonso, where he became part of the Soul Brothers, soon to be renamed Soul Vendors. The first recording that featured a solo of the gifted trombonist was The Wailers' single "Jailhouse" from December 1965. At the time the Soul Vendors became Sound Dimension in the late sixties, Vin Gordon was the main trombonist for Studio One as well as a freelancer for many other upcoming independent producers. Three instrumentals from those days, "Real Rock", "Heavenless" and "Valley Princess", are wrongly credited to the late Don Drummond as they are Vin Gordon compositions.

During the period 1974-78 he was engaged by Bob Marley for doing recording sessions for albums like "Natty Dread", "Rastaman Vibration" and "Exodus" as well as to perform with him on stage. In 1979 Vin Gordon moved to England where he initiated to most musically advanced period of Aswad. His influence was bringing the hardest authentic Kingston horn vibration to a mostly British born reggae group, which is embodied on their hit song "Warrior Charge". When he returned to Jamaica in 1987 the musical recording situation was drastically changed and live musicians were rarely needed. But through a variety of session work he managed to survive after all. In 1997 he started touring with Justin Hinds & The Dominoes, later followed by joining the Wailers Band and then The Skatalites in 2004.

Vin Gordon's solo projects include the Lee 'Scratch' Perry produced album "Musical Bones" (1975), the Joe Gibbs produced album "Way Over Yonder" (1979), and the Morris & Tilly produced set "The Melody Moods Of Vin Gordon" (1989). For his fourth solo album, "Gordon In The Garden Vol. 1", he has reformed the original Bob Marley & The Wailers horn section with David Madden on trumpet and Glen Da Costa on tenor saxophone.

The album opens with a fitting tribute to the late Don Drummond, "Addis A Rasta" (actually a reworking of "Addis Ababa"), with Vin Gordon and his fellow hornsmen David Madden and Glen Da Costa taking the listener into Jazz-Funk territory. It's followed by "African Thing", a nice rendition of a tune originally done by Ghanaian-British jazz-rock band Osibisa. "Stepping In" is a well done version of Aswad's "Warrior Charge", originally arranged by Vin Gordon himself, while "Stepping In Dub" comes as a real nice bonus. "Race Track" goes back to the days at Studio One when he was a member of the Soul Vendors, before the Ska-fueled "Jones Town Special" drops in. "Double Take" and also its dub version provide a feel good vibe and makes you wanna move your dancing feet. With "Heavy Skank" the listener is treated to another rendition of a well known classic instrumental namely Sound Dimension's "Heavy Rock". "Stone Valley Dub" once again displays the great skills and talent of the hornsmen as it rounds off this nice and enjoyable instrumental album in fine style.