When I saw the news on a friend’s Facebook feed that Nambo Robinson is dead, the name did not ring a bell. However, the friend who is a reggae producer mentioned that Nambo was featured on a lot of work that my friend produced, so I know then that have to have heard a lot of his work.
Little did I know of the greatness of the man that had pass and the blow it is to reggae music. Reggae has pretty much lost its greatest trombonist ever.
Born Ronald Robinson, Nambo started his career in the early 1970s with the influential Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. He went on to record and tour with Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, The Taxi Gang, the 809 Band, Lloyd Parks and We The People Band, and The Wailers.
Along with saxophonist Dean Fraser and trumpeter Chico Chin, Robinson helped to keep horns alive in contemporary music. Last year, he toured the United States with The Wailers and the Taxi Gang.
“Nambo was great to be around… he had that infectious laugh,” said keyboardist Robbie Lyn who knew Robinson for 40 years. “Nambo was a mentor to many young musicians and was always looking at ways to move the music along.”
Sly Dunbar, part of the famed rhythm duo Sly and Robbie, worked on countless hit songs with Robinson as members of The Taxi Gang, including Baltimore by The Tamlins and Jimmy Riley’s My Woman’s Love.
He remembered Robinson as “one of the nicest persons you could be around.
“I first met him while I was working with (producer) Joe Gibbs; he and Dean came around every day to put on horns,” said Dunbar.
Robinson was inspired by the legendary Skatalites band and Mystic Revelation of Rastafari which both emerged out of East Kingston, where he was raised.
He hit a purple patch in the late 1970s, hitting a high mark playing on Marley’s Survival and Confrontation albums. His distinctive tones can be heard on Buffalo Soldier, Trench Town, and Wake Up and Live.
Nambo Robinson is survived by his wife, daughter Sharifa, and sons Ronald Jr and N’namdi.