Sat | Dec 3, 2016

God & Ghost of Don Drummond

Published:Sunday | August 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Drummond
Egerton Chang
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Egerton Chang, GUEST COLUMNIST

The unlocking of the human mind is the subject of a movie named Lucy that my wife and I saw week before last at Palace Cineplex at one of their popular half-price specials. The character, Professor Norman, played by Morgan Freeman, says that mammals use only a small portion of their brain, with humans utilising the highest proportion (20 per cent), apart from dolphins (30 per cent). He wonders what powers we could have if we unlocked a higher percentage of our minds.

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) was to deliver a strange briefcase, but almost immediately, she is captured and turned into a drug mule for a new and powerful synthetic drug. When the drug she is carrying inside of her stomach bursts, Lucy's body undergoes unbelievable changes that unlocks her mind's 100 per cent potential. With her new-found powers, Lucy turns into a relentless crusader intent on getting revenge on her captors. She receives very useful help from Professor Norman, the leading authority on the human mind.

In the culmination, Lucy achieves 100 per cent utilisation, having passed through the stages of controlling all her bodily functions, controlling other peoples' bodies and thoughts, and controlling matter, and 'evolves' into 'possessing' every computer on earth. She says, via a computer monitor, "I am everywhere." I left the cinema thinking just that. That she became as one with the ubiquitous and powerful computer which is pervasive and is everywhere.

Shortly after, I got in a conversation with the lady that operates Thiiah's, the organic food and juice counter at Spartan gym. Althea (McPherson) asked me if I had seen the movie, Lucy. She said she didn't like the ending as she thought Lucy had evolved into God, being all knowing and everywhere.

THEORY

That struck a chord with me, as, when I was quite young, I had developed my pet 'theory' that when man evolves the capacity to know everything in the universe, he will see God, or be at one with God.

That would be billions of years from now, as the universe is so vast (and expanding), and that's not even counting the number of parallel universes postulated. And we have just scratched the surface of discovering what is on earth, let alone how everything works down here in our speck of the universe.

Now, I know I won't be hanging around for those billions of years, so I have decided that should I be wrong (and the odds are I am), it wouldn't hurt to take out a little insurance by believing in God now. To do what is right, don't hurt anyone, honour your mother and father, and don't bear false witness against your neighbour. Don't covet your neighbour's goods (or wife or husband) or steal or kill. In other words, make all say at your funeral, "He/she was a good person."

That's 'no-cost' insurance. What harm could that do?

GHOST OF DON DRUMMOND

Friday night, July 25, my wife and I were treated to an evening at Red Bones by our good friends, Junior and Joan Roman. While the food was a bit on the salty side, we were treated to some sweet and mellow music by the Alpha All Stars and the Alpha Boys' Band. A biography can be seen at https://www.dropbox.com/s/nxldo949bwt5qdj/BIO%20-%20THE%20ALPHA%20ALL%20.

Alpha has been administered since 1890 by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic order of nuns, most notably, Sister Ignatius (1921-2003), Alpha's lifelong administrator, who is familiarly called 'The Mother Theresa of Reggae Music'.

The celebrated careers of jazzmen Jo Jo Harriot and Dizzy Reece, ska pioneers the Skatalites, particularly Don Drummond, roots reggae vocalist Leroy Smart and dancehall deejay Winston Foster, aka Yellowman, all began at Alpha.

The Alpha All Stars started with that old standard, Summertime (composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess) and quickly seanced into the ghost of Don Drummond with his ever-uplifting Eastern Standard Time.

Don Drummond was a founding member of the Skatalites. In the fall of 1965, Don Drummond's composition, Man in the Street, entered the top 10 in the UK. Trombonist Drummond was not only the Skatalites' busiest composer, but the most prolific in all of ska, with at least 200 tunes to his name. Later, in 1967, his reggaefied version of The Guns of Navarone earned Drummond another top 10 UK hit.

He was rated by that celebrated blind jazz pianist and band leader, Sir George Shearing, to be among the world's top five trombone players. He was educated at Kingston's Alpha Boys' School.

With its complete horn section, the Alpha All Stars conjured up Don's composition and if one closed one's eyes, maybe one could hear his (and Roland Alphonso's) ghostly genius.

The All Stars then performed Feeling Fine and those old favourites, Moon River and Peres Prado's Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White), which was Billboard's number 1 for 10 weeks in 1955, all to the generous applause of the appreciative audience.

Special Guest

Special guest vocalist, Sky Taylor, then presented her own composition, Just a Little More, as well as doing justice to last year's Grammy Song of the Year, Royals (Lorde), and Our Day Will Come (Amy Winehouse). Her renditions were very well received by all.

The All Stars then concluded their set by finely executing Freedom Sound, Rockfort Rock and Exodus.

The Alpha All Stars provide an opportunity for current students at the Alpha Boys' School to learn the trade and the business of music through practical experiences in performance, sound reproduction and music management.

The Alpha Boys' Band then took over the stage by performing A Train (Duke Ellington), Lean on Me and Jamaica Mento, receiving rounds of applause. They rounded out a beautiful evening by doing their original Rock Easy, as well as System (Romain Virgo) and Drums in a Tunga to the delight of the crowd.

Members of the Alpha All Stars are Winston 'Sparrow' Martin - drums; Lance Smith - trumpet, Channeil Christian - trumpet; Travis Wedderburn - trombone; Luke Thomas - bass; Mr Robinson - keyboard; and Kimroy Bonfield - alto; while Daniel Richards, Christopher Wright, Raheem Austin, Keith Senior, Renardo Reid, Jordan Beckford, Andrew Martin, Winston Brown, and Chevaughn Harriot comprised the Alpha Boys' Band.

INSANE MURDERER

An exponent of jazz and music in general, as well as a prolific music writer, Drummond's big hits also included Scrap Iron, Occupation (Ring of Fire), Eastern Standard Time, Far East and Green Island.

Drummond's genius was only foreshadowed by his brittle mental state. In January 1965, he stabbed and killed his live-in girlfriend, Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood, a rhumba dancer. He was later convicted in a case that involved Justice Louis B. Fox, (later judge of appeal), Crown Counsel Churchill Raymond (later Supreme Court Judge), and Anthony Spaulding (later QC and minister of housing in the 1972 Michael Manley-led administration) and P.J. Patterson (later QC and prime minister of Jamaica), both Drummond's attorneys. He was nevertheless found criminally insane and remanded to the Bellevue Asylum, where he went to meet his God in 1969, aged 37.

Order of Jamaica

Congrats to Prof Joseph Frederick, who was awarded the nation's fourth-highest honour for distinguished service to the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies and the University Hospital. Professor Frederick was named to receive the Order of Jamaica on Independence Day and will receive his award at a ceremony to be held at King's House in October. Dr Frederick delivered three of my wife's babies.

Egerton Chang is a businessman. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and e_rider69@hotmail.com.