Wareika Vibes
Rico Rodriguez
Jamdown UK
May 18, 2006

Track list
  1. The Count
  2. Sounds And Power
  3. Stranger Than Strange
  4. These Things Are True
  5. Another Longshot
  6. Victims Of Trust
  7. Clean Up
  8. Redeemer
  9. Wareika Vibes
  10. Romeo
  11. Rastaman Oasis
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 2
Rooted in the tradition of Kingston's Alpha Boys School, legendary Jamaican trombone virtuoso Rico Rodriguez has been involved in many recordings and performed with artists such as The Skatalites, The Specials, Steel Pulse, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and the great Bob Marley.

Born Emmanuel Rodriguez, 17 October 1934, Kingston, Jamaica, Rico aka Reco aka El Reco along with his friend, tutor and fellow trombonist Don Drummond, took the trombone to the streets in Jamaica's folk music: Mento and Ska, and later Rock Steady and Reggae. He became a Rasta and formed a close musical association with the legendary master Rasta drummer Count Ossie at Wareika Hill near Kingston, recording on literally hundreds of sessions for most of the top producers such as Prince Buster, Coxsone Dodd, Lesley Kong and many others, including recordings of his own compositions.

In 1976 he eventually recorded the solo album "Man From Wareika", undoubtedly one of the best instrumental Reggae records ever, a real landmark in spiritual and soulful performance and composition. Rico Rodriguez's warm and expressive trombone sound and his solo style has always been highly estimated by fans and musicians, and even now, at the age of more than sixty, he hasn't stopped recording for innumerable bands and producers all over the world.

The title track of Rico Rodriguez's brand new solo cd was featured on the 2001 released JA-13 produced "Heroes Of Kingston" compilation set, about which we then wrote: "... whose awesome "Wareika Vibes" can be counted among the standouts." Almost five years later we are finally treated to a full length album which brings us that awesome "Wareika Vibes" piece and 10 more entertaining tracks from Rico's collaboration with Keith Finch of London based JA-13 Productions.

From beginning to end Rico Rodriguez blows the trombone in great style over well arranged original riddims, thus fully displaying his magical musicianship. Every track included here has its own merit and is a real joy for the ear. The album opener, "The Count", is a compelling Ska fueled tune, while the cd closes off with the extended meditative, nyahbinghi inspired sounds of "Rastaman Oasis", which features a vocal contribution of J.C. Lodge. In between there's a well varied collection of instrumentals with different musical flavors ranging from the roots reggae of "These Things Are True" to the latin sound of "Clean Up".

Overall opinion is that this true Jamaican legend has delivered a worthwhile set, so check it out!