Once again, author Heather Augustyn hits hard and deep, this time with her study of a forgotten musical legend – Jamaican trombonist Don Drummond. Acknowledged by many but heard of by few, Drummond is seen as a pioneer of ska, having been the leader of the (now-legendary) Skatalites and rating by jazz pianist George Shearing as one of the top five trombonists in the world.
Ms. Augustyn’s painstaking work had her digging for facts and information, where there is so little to be had and/or found – much of this book is through recollections of people who knew or worked with Drummond or by trying to piece together (at best) sktechy details. Ms. Augustyn is to be commended for making this as thorough and complete as she was able to do.
The most notoriety that surrounds Drummond is his killing of his girlfriend, singer Anita “Margarita” Mahfood in 1965, his conviction and subsequent and imprisonment in the mental ward of Kingston’s Bell Vue Asylum, where he died in 1969. This is a fascinating read on all levels; I look forward to exploring Mr. Drummond’s music a little deeper and the next offerings Heather Augustyn publishes.
Solid, intriguing, powerful – high marks all around.