Saxophonist Brooks hospitalised in NY
Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Influential saxophonist, Cedric 'Im' Brooks, is in a coma at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital in New York City. Junior Blake, a friend of the musician, said he was admitted there February 18.
After visiting Brooks on Wednesday, Blake told
that doctors had upgraded his condition to critical but stable. He said an unconscious Brooks, who lives alone, was discovered by his son in his Bronx apartment one week ago.
Blake said doctors did not disclose what may have caused Brooks to collapse. He added that he last spoke to the musician three weeks ago when he was scheduled to tour Thailand with The Skatalites band, but did not make the trip.
Brooks, 67, has been touring and recording with the legendary ska band for more than 10 years. Like several original members of The Skatalites, he attended the Alpha Boys School where many of Jamaica's great horn players got their musical training.
Brooks, fellow saxophonist Glen DaCosta, trombonist Vin Gordon and trumpeter David Madden, represent the second generation of horn players from Alpha, a Roman Catholic school in east Kingston run by nuns.
After leaving Alpha, Brooks joined the Military Band of the Jamaica Defence Force, but also recorded at Studio One for producer Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd. One of the first songs he played on was 1969's
by a young singer named Winston Rodney, better known as Burning Spear.
He and Madden also scored a big hit in 1970 with the instrumental
While most of his contem-poraries went mainstream during the 1970s, Brooks and another Alpha graduate, trombonist Rico Rodriquez, experimented with jazz and African sounds. Some of his best work can be heard on
, the inspirational 1976 album by Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari.
Two other recommended albums by Brooks were done in 1978. They are the solo
The Light of Saba
in reggae by his Light of Saba band.