The ska and reggae trombonist Rico Rodriguez, who also played with the Specials, dies aged 80
Band pays tribute to musician who also played with Jools Holland and was an influential figure in British ska
The trombonist Rico Rodriguez, who was a member of the Specials, has died at the age of 80, it has been announced.
In a tweet posted on Friday, the band expressed its condolences and said his legacy would “go on forever and a day”. The band’s publicist later confirmed the news.
Rodriguez, who also recorded as a solo artist and played with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, was perhaps best known for his appearance on the Specials’ 1979 cover of Dandy Livingstone’s A Message to You, Rudy – which reached No 10 in the UK charts.
He was an influential figure in the development of the British ska and 2 Tone movements in the 1970s and 80s after moving to England from Jamaica in the 1960s. He was awarded an MBE for services to music in 2007.
According to the Jamaica Observer, he was born in Cuba and moved to Jamaica as a child. He was a contemporary of the influential musician Don Drummond.
Some consider his 1977 album Man From Wareika to be his best work and Rodriguez himself has been quoted as saying that it was the first album on which he was able to perform to the best of his ability.
He added: “The first things that came to me were the things that my family used to play in Wareika Hills with Count Ossie and Don Drummond.”