JA-13 Cooperative Presents Rico Rodriguez: Rico - Order Of Distinction

The London-based JA-13 Cooperative is essentially Richard Drury and Keith Finch. Neither of these are blank pages: Richard Drury was considered one of the most promising songwriters in England in the 90s and the multi-instrumentalist Keith Finch already played in several (ska) bands. Together they now have "JA-13 Cooperative Presents Rico Rodriguez: Rico - Order Of Distinction“(Jamdown Records) produced. The studio sessions with the 80-year-old Rico began in 2014, but soon had to be canceled because Rico fell seriously ill and died as a result in September 2015 in a London hospital. Drury and Finch then left the recordings for almost 5 years until they finally had an approval with the fan and released Rico's very last recordings in spring 2019. The 9-track album bears the more than fitting title "Rico: Order of Distinction". In 2007 Rico received the British Order of “Member of the British Empire” (MBE) for his services to music and in October 2012 he was awarded the “Silver Musgrave Medal” for his outstanding service to Jamaica by the Institute of Jamaica.

The older work begins with a real ska scorcher "Gold Rush", which is immediately powerful in the legs. The rest of the tracks are more leisurely, depending on their age. With his soft, unmistakable trombone playing, Rico leads the listener through all fields of Jamaican music. From African influences, Burru drumming to jazz borrowings, the listener is offered everything. "Hold Him Joe" and "Ninety And Nine" are revisions of standards from Rico's very early days, when he was still taking trombone lessons at Alpha Boys School. Of course, the remaining instrumental pieces are also absolutely worth listening to. Emmanuel "Rico" Rodriguez demonstrates his masterful trombone playing to the fullest one last time, as if he had already suspected during the sessions that he didn't have much time left. The entertaining album ends with the “Mountain Mix”, a replay of the timeless instrumental from the 2006 album “Wareika Vibes” produced by Drury and Finch. How many overdubs were ultimately necessary for “Rico: Order of Distinction” is secondary, most important is the end result and that is convincing. “Rico: Order Of Distinction” has not become a pure instrumental album, because Dubtechniques were used in the mixing process, albeit not overly opulent.
Drury and Finch took the necessary time for this crisp production and thus earned Rico's music for the very last time the appreciation and respect it deserves.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 replies to "JA-13 Cooperative Presents Rico Rodriguez: Rico - Order Of Distinction"

High Ras Vorbei !

They are “opulent” Dubtechniques were really not used. But what does it matter if the music here is again (almost) not to be criticized at all, because it is beyond any doubt. I don't have anything to criticize either, but I already have a few weaker moments, because Rico sometimes slips off something with his trombone play, so that I could also believe that I'm at a fair. Sounds a bit bitchy now, but at a fair it can sometimes be a lot of fun. So don't put that with the fair too much on the gold scales, because that's really just a minor matter.
In any case, “Gold Rush” really starts right away. Ropp Auff has yet another excellent Ska Tune in his collection ;-) Even if afterwards - as you write - it's a bit more leisurely, it's still full of reggae power. The riddims are very powerful and smell like primeval soup. “Kings” sounds a bit like Christmas to me, but that can be very appropriate again at the right time. With "Hold Him Joe" it is mainly the trumpet
that really refines the tune for me.
“Somebody To Love” is also very successful here and I especially like the little echo on the RiddimGuitar. A little Dub must be ;-) No, honestly, this special sound of the RiddimGuitar is the icing on the cake for me and goes one better with the beautiful tune. Otherwise everything is great and I would especially like to mention “Wareika Vibes”. For me this is the best piece that I know from Rico. I have had a slightly different version of it on an ingenious sampler for a long time (it would be serious,
if I knew the name of the sampler now) and for a long time I thought I would be one of the chosen ones who even knew this tune. Quite hidden, as a single tune I have it in the list of “Deep In Dub" found. This one
List is not printed daily in the New York Times, it is probably still reserved for the “connoisseurs” of this world. Here on “Order Of Distinction” the version actually seems a bit to me dubbiger, so that it definitely closes the circle again and im DubBlog had to be discussed.
I find the information on "Jamaica - 13 Cooparatives" particularly interesting! It's my top priority now, everything
to google what I can find about it. I think that they also produced my "secret" sampler and maybe they have a lot more in the PipeLine. As an old reggae bunny, I know almost every reggae tune before it was even produced, so I'm always particularly happy when I find something in the way of mixing, the way of production and the overall sound impression that makes me special makes me sit up and take notice in his
Spell pulls.
Jamaica - 13 Cooperative has a very special sound, an extraordinarily exciting sound of the instruments that fascinates me. Let's see if they were or are aware of this or if it was just a coincidence. ( Yes, yes, I know Ras Vorbei, there is
no coincidences ;-)).

“I'm going fishing” ………………. lemmi


I was able to experience Rico live a few times and was always very touched when this very humble and down-to-earth person, despite his successes, took the stage. He was (almost) embarrassed to get stage applause. Even Bob Marley had hired Rico as support for his European tour in 1977, which some here might not be aware of. But it was only as a member of the Specials that life became more bearable for Rico and his family in cold, cloudy England.

@Lemmi you asked the question somewhere why you bought the "Wareika Dub“Didn't know before. As far as I know, it was only released in 1977 as a pre-release (blank label) in an edition of 50 copies. Rico said he did not own a copy of the album. I had (still have) a tape that a friend (second-hand records) could get me over a thousand corners.

In my research I found this interesting statement from Rico: “I don't play trombone like a trombonist, I play trombone like saxophone. I really never studied the trombone technique, and maybe if I studied the trombone technique, I wouldn't be so popular; I would have been sounding like one of the other technicians. Because I don't play with that amount of technique — it's more soul feeling. "

Perhaps it is really the unusual, instinctive trombone playing that distinguishes his work and creativity and makes it so unique. With his death one of my sooooo great heroes left again.

By the way, since the 1979 sampler: “This Is Reggae Music” (Island Records) I have been looking for this entire concert. Unfortunately only this one title is on the LP.

You induce me to make a statement that outlines me as an unsuspecting artificer.
I have to admit that I most likely could not distinguish the trombone playing by Rico from the trombone playing by, for example, Vin Gordon. When I read the really interesting statement from him, like he himself his trumpet playing
feels, I asked myself whether I would be in a position to always be able to differentiate with certainty. In doing so, it becomes clear to me again that personally I am mainly a "riddim fetishist" who does not pay so much attention to the playing style and the virtuosity of the musicians. Well, I thought I had to give this to the “best” so that you could understand me better in the future if I once again didn't show enough respect for a musician's ability. It is then simply because I simply cannot judge it because I lack the "professionalism" to do so. I can only say whether I like the melody or not. The fact that Rico plays the trombone more like a saxophone would probably not have struck me in a hundred years ……………… ..

I haven't scolded at all today, so I'll write here again that I was able to experience Rico live at least once. Of course, I don't scold Rico, but rather our göttinger culture bastards. (It's a pity that they don't im DubRead the blog, but that's what culture bastards are like). The awesome concert took place somewhere in a village near Göttingen. There were about 5 houses and at least a small ballroom. It came out around 50
Spectators / listeners (sorry for that) which didn't harm the atmosphere or the concert in the least. A fantastic concert where Rico praised the band “Them play like Real Rastamen” which was and still is a huge compliment for white musicians (especially when it comes to reggae). (Yes, there is such a little racist in me too, only that my racism works in the completely different direction). I wish the Göttingen Kulturheinis weren't so narrow-minded and would manage to bring a few good reggae events to Göttingen again. So that people like Rico don't have to run into a small village with 50 inhabitants. Well, he doesn't have to anymore. The Göttingen culture fuzzies have no chance to make up for their failures in the matter of Rico. Even if you now say “but we only recently had Jamaram”, I say, that doesn't work. Nothing against Jamaram, I like them when they play reggae, but against Rico it's just ……. well, I don't want to become racist again now.

Greetingzzzzzzzz ………………… .. lemmi

Even if you're not interested in that now, I owe it to myself. The sampler with or from JA-13 is called "Heroes of Kingston". There is good singing. Among other heroes like Alton Ellis, BB Seaton, Owen Gray, Derrick Morgan and also the good old Dennis Alcapone. For me it was and is a top-class sampler because it has very "fluffy" riddims and a very special sound that doesn't come across as very common either. The whole thing is very special and I can only say that I'm always in a really good mood.

Yeah man "I am like the invisible man" …………. "Dance with me baby" ………………………… lemmi

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