R.I.P: Ronald “Nambo” Robinson, Jamaica’s Ace Trombonist

January 25, 2017


Ronald “Nambo” Robinson, a musician known for his work with Bob Marley and the Wailers, and one of Jamaica’s leading trombonists, passed on this morning at the age of 67. The cause was a heart attack, according to the Jamaica Observer.

In addition to his appearances on Marley’s Survival and Confrontation albums, Robinson played on records by Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Lauryn Hill, Gregory Isaacs, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Beres Hammond, Shaggy and Buju Banton, to name just a few. He was a member of numerous Jamaican live bands over the years, including the 809 Band, Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari, Rass Brass, and We The People, and backed up international artists including Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and The Four Tops.

He frequently recorded with Sly and Robbie, playing trombone on numerous records for the drum and bass duo’s Taxi Gang label, including the Tamlins’ “Baltimore,” basis of the widely-recycled riddim of the same name, and toured with the Riddim Twins. Along with his close friend, saxophonist Dean Fraser, with whom he formed the 809 Band in the 1980s, he made up perhaps Jamaica’s most widely used brass combination. The pair also released several singles in the late 1970s, as Nambo & Dean.

In 1984, Robinson released Sanity, his first of several albums under his own name, on Byron Lee’s Dynamic Sounds label. He remained active right up to his passing, appearing most recently on singer Kelissa’s Spellbound album, released just this past Friday.