Reggae Gold 2015, featuring a musical mix, is set for summer release


By Tiffany Mea

For over 20 years, the world’s #1 Caribbean music compilation Reggae Gold brings the genre’s top hits into one must-have collection for the masses. 2015’s installment, out July 17, 2015 on VP Records, is filled with the season’s freshest sounds in roots, dancehall, lover’s rock and pop-fused reggae from a diverse group of talent.

Busy Signal is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

Busy Signal is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

From the Canadian pop supergroup Magic’s #1 Billboard single “Rude” to comedian/actor/singer Eddie Murphy’s return to reggae on his latest single “Oh Jah Jah,” (following his 1993 Shabba Ranks collab “I Was A King”) – there is no shortage of crossover appeal on Reggae Gold 2015.

Chroniixx is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

Chroniixx is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

This year’s installation features a multitude female artists reigning in reggae today – from emerging stars like the Rastafarian singer Jah9 (“Avocado”), reggae pop princesses’ Toian (“Love It”) and Ikaya (“My Man”) to Jamaica’s leading ladies, like dancehall diva Spice (“Conjugal Visit” ft. Vybz Kartel), the soulful songstress Etana (“I Rise”) and roots reality lyricist Queen Ifrica (“I Can’t Breathe”). The latter song carries a strong message to stop police brutality and racial profiling worldwide.


Etana is featured on Reggae Gold 2015.

The set also delves into exclusive new music from Jamaica’s top male artists. Jah Cure reveals his latest single “Made In California” off his upcoming album The Cure and the legendary crooner Beres Hammond delivers his stellar new anthem “Jamaican International Dance.” Singer-songwriter Christopher Martin turns heads with the island’s chart climber “I’m A Big Deal,” while overnight sensation Gully Bop proves ground with his popular tracks ” My God Dem Nuh Bad Like We” and “Body Specialist.” Dancehall star Busy Signal drops lyrical fire on the flirtatious fun track “Text Message,” and Gyptian unveils his latest steamy single “All On Me.” Every song counts on this collection.–






Reggae legend Desi Jones dazzles with Skool after success with Chalice

By Carmen Glover


Desi Jones smiles with satisfaction as he plays the drums with an expertise that has earned him industry respect and clout.

The rich, pulsating, vibes emitted by drums fascinated legendary musician Desi Jones from his early childhood years growing up on the beautiful island of Jamaica so his progression from student, to inspiration, to teacher, has been a natural development. Along the way, Jones has toured the globe, treating fans to his flawless command of the drums.

“They used to call me boom boom when I was a child,” Jones recalled, laughing as he described how he energetically demonstrated his interest in the instrument during his formative years. “At age 9, I started playing the drums at the Institute of Jamaica. I used to play the conga drums that you play with your hands but after playing for a while I played with sticks at age 10 or 11.”


Desi Jones

As he was approaching his teenaged years, Jones played with the Salvation Army and other groups, honing his skills. By the time he turned 13 he was playing with Time Dimension, a group that was composed of teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 16. All the time, Jones was perfecting his craft while waiting for his one big moment, which came as unexpectedly as spot shower on a steaming hot day.
“In 1976, I played Carifesta. When the drummer for the Sonny Bradshaw band crashed, Dean Frasier, who was 19 and played the saxophone for the band, told Sonny about me. They hired me and that was my first professional job,” he said. After gaining a wealth of experience, Jones left Sonny Bradshaw in 1980 to join forces with other musicians, forming the group Chalice. The experience, from his recollection, was pivotal in propelling him to new musical heights.

late sonny bradshaw
Late bandleader Sonny Bradshaw gave Desi Jones his first professional gig.

“The group lived on the North coast for three to six months and we practised and practised,” he said. The dedication and discipline paid off in ways that the group members could not have envisioned. Chalice released its first album “Blasted” in 1982 and it was a resounding success, boasting three hits, “Good to be there,” which dominated the charts and was on the lips of the young and old alike, “I Still Love You,” and “I’m Trying.”

The group rode the wave of success brought on by their phenomenal debut album and soon they were the band of choice to back international acts. “Whenever they brought overseas acts like the Manhattans to Jamaica, we opened for them,” Jones said.
Paul Kastick of Groove Galore Records who co-produced The Voice’s Tessaane Chin’s hit “Hideaway” and has been the longtime drummer for Maxi Priest recalled being so impressed by Jones’ stellar skills on “Blasted” that it had him mesmerized with the possibilities that Jones’ skills caused him to contemplate. “Desi Jones revolutionized the music,” he said of Jones’ drumming talents on “Good to be There.”

dean frasier
Exceptional saxophonist Dean Frasier, at age 19, brought Des Jones to the attention of bandleader Sonny Bradshaw, who hired Jones for his first professional appearance.

Jones credits Bradshaw, arranger and producer Peter Ashbourne who enjoyed a long career creating jingles for commercials and Cedrick Brooks of United Africa as his three main teachers regarding the nuances of playing in bands. On the other hand, he lauds Tony Smith of The Mighty Titans, Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, star of the iconic movie “Rockers” and Calvin Mckenzie of Inner Circle as his influences with mastering the drums. Inner Circle is a reggae band that was formed in Jamaica in 1968 with lead singer Jacob Miller. The band broke up when Miller dies but re-formed in 1986 and had the monster hit “Bad Boys” the long-standing theme song for the television show “Cops.”

These days, Jones plays with Chalice “on and off” because the group has scaled back its touring schedule.

“I stopped playing with Chalice in 1988 and formed Skool, a backing band,” Jones explained, of his scaled back interactions with the famous group, which lost its lead singer, Kevin Roper, to cancer in January 2013. But even as his musical repertoire has evolved, Jones has clung to the belief that it is important for experienced talents to pave the way for a new generation in every way possible and provide a template for them.

Desi Jones with Chalice
Desi Jones (second from left), with Chalice, the group with which he had his first taste of success.

“What I try to do is hire a lot of young players for my shows that,’ he said. In an effort to give back to the upcoming musicians, Jones make an effort to share his talents in other venues as well. “At the Edna Manley School of Music I judge contests,” he said. Most significantly, Jones has been a barometer for his son, Joshua Jones, who also attended the Edna Manley School of Music and plays bass for reggae sensation Chronixx, with whom Joshua is currently on tour. Jones has also formed an alliance with Jazz extraordinaire Monty Alexander and base player Glenn Bunning as he expands his musical scope.

“I came back from tour last week in the Netherlands with Luciana and Mutabaruka,” he said, explaining that the tour, Reggae Sundance, featured Alexander and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, because of his preference to “back up the veterans.”
Jones reflected on the last 15 years when the “drum computer thing was the craze until after a while they realized that the live drum is the best thing so now we are getting back to the acoustic sound.”


As his musical journey has come full circle, Jones has seen the transformation across the entertainment landscape.

“When I was on tour recently all of the musicians were students or graduates of the Jamaica School of Music. Everything is live again and it’s only in some genres like hip hop that they use computerized drums,” he said. “Every other genre has gone back to the old style of music. Bob Marley and Peter Tosh music doesn’t get old because of that, the live, acoustic sound that you hear in the songs.”

While Jones feels good that music has come full circle with a greater reliance on live music, he is savvy enough to realize that he has to adapt to a new way of earning as a musician in the new age of free downloads that sabotage musicians’ desire to earn from their craft.

Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace drummer extraordinaire and star of the movie "Rockers."

Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace drumming phenomenon and star of the movie “Rockers,” is one of the entertainers who taught Desi Jones the finer points of mastering the drums.

“The main way to earn money nowadays is from real skills so your talent as a live player is crucial. When you make a record you don’t make money from it. Your record is just to promote you but the money is made from touring so your talent has to be there,” he said. As he examines the changing trends on the musical landscape, Jones offers a few words of advice to fledgling musicians:

“Prepare yourself for your big moment and know your instrument,” he said is the first lesson to learn. It is also important, he said to “play every show you get and do free shows to get exposure.”

Jones is comfortable with the trajectory of his career and splits his time between touring, producing and other projects. “It’s hard to quantify,” he said of the degree to which he does each, but he has worked in various genres including gospel. “I’ve produced quite a few CDs for Carlene Davis, Myrna Hague and others.” As Jones continues to do what he loves, his passion for the music is as unmistakable as his commitment to producing superior music that thrills, entertains and has the power to last a lifetime.–

Chronixx, Junior Reid, to perform in free Central Park concert

junior reid

Reggae superstar Junior Reid has made an indelible mark on the entertainment scene with his inspiring 1989 hit “One Blood,” a song that touts unity, love, cultural identity and cooperation. He followed in Michael Rose’ footsteps to lead the exciting group Black Uhuru and enjoys ongoing success.

By Tiffany Mea

LargeUp, Okayplayer and Federation Sound have partnered to present a free show by reggae stars Chronixx and Junior Reid at Central Park SummerStage on Saturday, July 26th. The show celebrates the respective 15th anniversaries of Okayplayer and Federation Sound, and marks Caribbean culture website LargeUp’s inaugural event at SummerStage. Taking place from 3 to 7 p.m. at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield, it’s one of five Okayplayer Summer Concert Series events happening throughout the season.


Chronixx, an exciting reggae stair who has attracted a great deal of industry buzz, will perform at Central Park’s Summer Stage on July 26.

Chronixx is reggae’s brightest new star. Just 21, he has already established himself as the leader of the roots revival that has re-energized Jamaican music in the last two years. Emerging internationally in late 2012 with his Major Lazer-produced Start A Fyah mixtape, Chronixx and his band Zincfence Redemption have sold out shows across major cities in Europe, UK and North America, including each of their five previous NYC engagements, and headlined stadiums in the Caribbean.

This month’s SummerStage show, the final date on a U.S. tour in support of his acclaimed, independently released Dread and Terrible project, marks his highest profile U.S. performance yet. Chronixx made his U.S. television debut tonight on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on July 22, at 11:35pm EST on NBC.


Also performing at the Central Park Summer Stage concert  is Junior Reid. One of reggae’s music’s most enduring acts, “JR” is best known to reggae fans for his iconic 1989 single “One Blood,” and his work fronting Grammy winners Black Uhuru. His distinctive “tu-tu tweng” vocal style is also known to generations of hip-hop and pop fans through his collaborations with such artists as Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Fabolous and The Game.

Bringing the authentic bashment vibes are the Rice and Peas crew. A high-energy, NYC-based Caribbean party/movement that has gathered a loyal following of creative influencers, artists, musicians and dancers since its inception in 2007, Rice and Peas has brought diverse groups of people together in a unique environment where dancehall and Caribbean culture meet downtown. Federation Sound’s Max Glazer, founder DJ Gravy and the silent killer Orijahnal Vibez handle DJ duties while Micro Don narrates the experience with raw energy, humorous ad-libs and infinite star power. –

Exciting music festival returns to Roy Wilkins Park on June 29

Reggae Superstar Marcia Griffiths.

Reggae Superstar Marcia Griffiths will perform at the festival with some of her close friends.

By Tiffany Mea

New York’s  fourth annual “Groovin’ in the Park” concert will hit Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, NY on Sunday, June 29th, 2014. This year serves up an exciting dose of reggae, soul and pop-rock performances into one jam-packed day.

Jamaica’s soulful hit-maker Beres Hammond and Australian pop-rock legends Air Supply will headline the show. Chronixx, one of Jamaica’s most-talked about rising roots stars, and his band Zinc Fence Redemption, will make their NYC festival debut. While Marcia Griffiths celebrates her 50th year in reggae with a few of her friends (John Holt, Judy Mowatt and Bob Andy). The one-day extravaganza will also showcase  elements of Jamaican culture with its mouth-watering cuisine and the island’s fashion.

Beres Hammond will headline the festival.

Soulful reggae crooner Beres Hammond will headline the festival.

Hailed as the only Jamaican female vocalist to have chart-topping success in such a vast range of styles (doo-wop covers, rock steady, roots and funk), Marcia Griffiths’ versatility and willingness to adapt has worked to her advantage. From her international break as one of the I-Threes (Bob Marley’s iconic backing trio) to her chart-topping success with “Electric Boogie” (the 80s hit prompting the Electric Slide dance), the First Lady of Reggae’s accomplishments have commanded royal respect throughout her 40-year plus career.

Judy Mowatt, who sang with Marchia Griffiths and Rita marley as the I-Threes, will perform at the festival.

Judy Mowatt, who sang with Marchia Griffiths and Rita marley as the I-Threes, will perform at the festival.

During her set at Groovin in the Park, she will perform alongside original I-Threes’ member Judy Mowatt, veteran singer John Holt and her long-time singing partner Bob Andy. Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt were recently honored with the “Reggae Ambassador’s Award” in New York by VP Records and Groovin Inc.

Legendary reggae singer John Holt will perform at the festival.

Legendary reggae singer John Holt will perform at the festival.

Known to many as the “Otis Redding of Reggae,” Beres Hammond has been producing and pouring out his smoky-sweet vocals over every kind of riddim track for almost 40 years. Beres Hammond, who ignited New York City with musical flames when he last appeared on Groovin’ in the Park in 2012, has a track record of hits that is unprecedented in reggae, including “Rockaway,” “In Love With You,” “What One Dance Can Do,” “She Loves Me Now,” “Step Aside,” “Double Trouble” and “Putting Up Resistance.”

Legendary reggae singer Bob Andy will perform at the festival.

Legendary reggae singer Bob Andy will perform at the festival.

His latest Grammy-nominated album One Love, One Life (2012, VP Records) peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Top 10 Reggae Album chart and was lauded by Rolling Stone as “one of the best albums of a four-decade-long career.”

Air Supply will join Beres Hammond  as the show's headliners.

Air Supply will join Beres Hammond as the show’s headliners.

With over 100 million albums sold worldwide, Australian soft-rock pop legends Air Supply have scored eight Top 10 Billboard hits in the United States, including anthems like “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All,” “Good Bye,” “Its Never Too Late” and “Lost In Love,” which was named “Song Of The Year” in 1980. The group mesmerized music fans at the 2011 Jamaica Jazz & Blues festival and their upcoming performance at Groovin in the Park will be no different. In 2013, Air Supply was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame.

The 21-year-old roots vocalist Chronixx is one of hottest new reggae artists on the circuit. He recently dropped his new project Dread & Terrible, which was written entirely by himself. The conscious singer-songwriter has been building a name for himself with energetic live performances and raves reviews from media and industry alike. In a recent Billboard interview, Island Records’ founder Chris Blackwell said Chronixx’s music is “completely fresh, uplifting and very pure.” Major Lazer selector Walshy Fire added that “the world will recognize him as one of reggae’s greatest artists.” He already has an impressive catalogue of smash hits – including “Behind Curtain,” “Tell Mi Now,” “Here Comes Trouble,” “African Heritage” and his patriotic island anthem “Smile Jamaica” that has placed him on reggae’s frontline.

Marcia Griffiths usually delivers a terrific performance and is expected to do the same at the festival.

Marcia Griffiths usually delivers a terrific performance and is expected to do the same at the festival. She will be joined onstage with pals Judy Mowatt, Bob Andy and John Holt.

Groovin’ in the Park 2014 will be a day to remember. Sponsors supporting the celebration this year include Grace Kennedy, TD Bank, SQPA, Nutrament, MoneyGram, The Smoke House, The Door Restaurant, Bullzii and Groovin Radio. Since 2011, Groovin’ in the Park has consistently brought world-class entertainment to New York City. Previous performers include Gladys Knight, Babyface, Machel Mantano, Beres Hammond, Jimmy Cliff, Patti Labelle and TGT (Tyrese, Ginuwine & Tank). For more information visit or contact