23 September 2015
Westbury Remembers Rico Rodriguez
The Westbury team are sad to announce the passing of musician Rico Rodriguez, who has died aged 80. Mr Rodriguez was an innovative and pioneering Jamaican trombonist, best known for his membership of the two tone group the 'Specials'. Rico played on many of the earliest ska records, and released the classic instrumental album ‘Man From Wareika’ in 1977.
He was an influential figure in the development of the British ska and 2 Tone movements in the 1970s and 80s and also a longstanding member of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
Rico worked with every producer in Jamaica from Duke Reid to fellow Westbury writers Bunny Lee and Mad Professor. In December 1961, he left Jamaica for Britain, where he began recording for Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. Two Rico albums surfaced in 1969: Reco in Reggae Land was a Don Drummond tribute, using pre-recorded rhythms produced by Bunny Lee in Jamaica.
Rico subsequently joined the Undivided, fronted by a Jamaican expat, Gene Rondo; the group’s debut album, Listen to the World, was issued by Decca in 1973. Rico then continued an active career as a session musician thereafter. In 2007 Rico was appointed an MBE for contribution and services to the British music industry, He will be greatly missed but his music lives on.
Emmanuel “Rico” Rodriguez, 17 October 1934 - 4 September 2015