Born OTD in 1928, Jamaican musician who was bandmaster at the Alpha Cottage School, and also a vibraphone virtuoso, recording two albums for Studio One, Lennie Hibbert. At the age of eight he began attending the Alpha School, where he joined the school band as a drummer. He worked as a live musician in jazz groups in the 1960s, and frequently worked with the Sound Dimension band, recording some of the best-known riddims for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1934, Cuban-born Jamaican ska & reggae trombonist, Emmanuel “Rico” Rodriguez. Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba, & at an early age moved with his family to Jamaica. He grew up there in Kingston, and was taught to play the trombone by his slightly older schoolmate Don Drummond at the Alpha Boys School. He recorded with producers such as Karl Pitterson, Prince Buster, and Lloyd Daley. He was known as one of the first ska musicians. Beginning in the 1960s, he worked with The Members, The Specials, Jools Holland, and Paul Young.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1943, saxaphonist with The Soul Vendors, (AKA Soul Dimension), & The Skatalites, Cedric “Im” Brooks. Brooks became a pupil at the renowned Alpha Boys School aged 11, where he learned music theory and clarinet. In his late teens he took up tenor saxophone and flute.

One of the most intriguing, eccentric and original musicians to emerge from reggae is Cedric ‘I’M’ Brooks, the tenor saxophonist … More

Born OTD in 1936, Lester Sterling, AKA Lester “Ska” Sterling. Like many Jamaican musicians of his generation, Sterling attended the Alpha Boys School. Originally a trumpeter, he is predominantly known as a player of alto saxophone. Sterling is a founding member of The Skatalites. After The Skatalites originally disbanded in 1965, Sterling played with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and recorded several solo singles for the London-based producer “Sir” Clancy Collins.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1936, Jamaican pianist, Theophilus Beckford. “..Ellis further compounds what many have claimed was the turning point, when a slightly wonky shuffle beat became highlighted within the traditional 12-bar blues structure, paving the way for ska. The guy really start that off-beat thing, Theophilus Beckford.”

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1928, Lennie Hibbert. A Jamaican musician who was bandmaster at the Alpha Boy’s School. Lennie worked as a live musician in jazz groups in the 1960s, and frequently worked with the Sound Dimension band, recording some of the best-known riddims for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

In 1976 Lennie was awarded the Order of Distinction (O.D.) for his contribution to music on the island and for … More

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass band that helped shape some of the world’s most beloved musical forms. Under a strict disciplinarian regime, ‘wayward ‘boys,’ many orphaned or from deeply troubled backgrounds and hailing from some of the toughest streets in the world, went on to become the backbone of Jamaican jazz, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dancehall, and dub.

Alpha Boys School: Cradle Of Jamaican Music takes a look at the lives of over 40 of these influential musicians … More