Toppa Top 10: Reggae’s Greatest Bassists

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10. Tony Gad

Aswad

Tony Gad is the longtime bassist for the UK’s greatest reggae band, Aswad, starting out on keyboard duties and moving to bass following the departure of co-founder George Oban. Gad’s playing is extremely forward and recognizable, as Aswad’s production was often unique in underscoring the bass line with keyboards instead of pick guitar. Together with the fantastic Drummie Zeb, Gad helped Aswad become one of reggae’s most versatile bands, equally adept at lovers rock, roots, dub and raggamuffin. While their 1982 set New Chapter was a big underground hit in the UK, A New Chapter of Dub was even bigger. And ’83’s Live and Direct is one of the best live reggae sets ever recorded, not least because of Gad’s playing.

The Swad, as the non-vocal part of the group was called, also produced records for Maxi Priest and Burning Spear, and collaborated with great producers like Gussie Clarke (Keyboard Bass? Not a problem!) and Jah Shaka. Here’s the whole band, live at Glastonbury in ’82: