BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
(Jamaica Observer) – LEGENDARY Jamaican bass player Robbie Shakespeare was yesterday described as “one of a kind” by keyboardist Robbie Lyn, one of the many artistes and musicians who rode Sly and Robbie’s Taxi label and had a front-row seat to Shakespeare’s genius.
Shakespeare died at age 68 yesterday at his home in Florida, United States.
According to Lyn, Shakespeare’s story transcended music. “He came from a challenged background and made a name for himself. Robbie worked himself into a position as someone to respect,” Lyn told the Jamaica Observer.
No official cause of death was given at press time, but Shakespeare had been ill for an extended period.
He and Lyn had a musical connection that went back to the late 1970s when they were members of Peter Tosh’s Word, Sound and Power band. Along with drummer Sly Dunbar, they played on numerous hit songs, including Walk and Don’t Look Back by Tosh and Mick Jagger, Revolution (Dennis Brown), Love and Devotion (Jimmy Riley), and Baltimore (The Tamlins).
Saxophonist Dean Fraser is also a member of the Taxi Gang. He remembers first meeting “Rasta Robbie” in the late 1970s at Channel One studio in Kingston.
“Robbie jus’ had a different style, one of the steadiest bass in di world. Him did jus’ have a different sound…very creative,” said Fraser, who also played on Baltimore, as well as Anthem, the Sly and Robbie-produced album that won the first reggae Grammy in 1985.