Words by Jesse Serwer—
Over the weekend we received the news about the passing of Jamaican sax great Cedric Im Brooks. Brooks, who was 70, had been in a coma-like state for more than three years, before succumbing to cardiac arrest in New York City Thursday.
Brooks attended Jamaica’s famed Alpha Boys School as a kid with future members of the Skatalites, in which he would later become a member. But his breakthrough would come at Studio One, where he teamed up with David Madden to form the duo Im & David and became a member of house band, the Sound Dimensions, playing on seminal records by Burning Spear, among others (His sax solo on “Door Peep Shall Not Enter” from Spear’s debut LP surely stands as one of the greatest in reggae history). The ’70s would see him develop his sound, blending reggae, spirituality and, most notably, jazz as a member of Nyabinghi percussionist Count Ossie’s Mystic Revelation of Rastafari and with his own band, Light of Saba, creating some of the most far-out Jamaican records of their day. And did you know Brooks played congas on Beres Hammond’s all R&B debut LP, Soul of a Man?
Here’s a few of his notable recordings:
Cedric Im Brooks and David Madden (aka Im & Dave)—Money Maker (Studio One, 1970)
Mun-Dun-Go (Studio One, 197?, Reissued by Soul Jazz Records in 2002)
Burning Spear—Door Peep Shall Not Enter (Studio One, 1973)
Count Ossie & Mystic Revelation of Rastafari—Sam’s Intro (1975)
Light of Saba-Rebirth (Total Sounds, 1976)