Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Jamaican Boy”: Jazz Fusion Reggae Instrumental

Three musicians – Stanley Clarke, Jeff Beck, and Steve Gadd – with keyboard embellishments from a fourth, Bayeté Todd Cochran:

Jamaican Boy

Stanley Clarke (1979)


“Jamaican Boy” was a 45 release from 1979’s I Wanna Play for You studio/live hybrid LP and one of Record World‘s “Single Picks” for the week of June 2, 1979:

Establishing himself as one of the most significant bass players to emerge out of the 70s, Clarke prominently displays the bass guitar as the lead instrument in this funky, percussive instrumental.

Cash Box identified “Jamaican Boy” as one of its “Singles to Watch” in their June 16, 1979 edition:

An unusual haunting blend of rock, jazz, and reggae, as Clarke’s big bass sound alternatingly comes across like an electric guitar and a percussive instrument.  A standout instrumental, nonetheless, this song could work on a number of formats.

Not to be confused with Lloyd Clarke‘s 1964 UK single release

Fellow Jamaican

Stanley Clarke 45

In a (potentially ironic) twist, NYC-born percussionist, Lenny White — Clarke’s former partner in jazz fusion supergroup, Return to Forever — later served as the drummer for The Jamaica Boys, who released two albums on Warner Brothers.

Debut LP

Jeff Beck, interestingly, had received a shout out from Clarke four years previously on “Hello Jeff” (from 1975’s Journey to Love, on which Beck played guitar — B-side of “Silly Putty“) and three years prior to that from Stevie Wonder on “Lookin’ for Another Pure Love” – an album track from Wonder’s 1972 breakthrough LP, Talking Book, on which Stevie encouragingly chuckles “Do it, Jeff” around the 2:00 mark.

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