Published Sep 04, 2015Ska and reggae trombonist Rico Rodriguez, former member of 2 tone UK outfit the Specials, has died, the band reports. He was 80 years old.
Though the details were not shared in full, news of Rodriguez's passing arrived today (September 4) through the Specials' Twitter account. Of their fallen bandmate's impact, they wrote: "His legacy will go on forever and a day."
The horn player was born Emmanuel Rodriguez in Cuba in 1934 but spent his youth in Kingston, Jamaica, where he took up the trombone. After moving to the UK in the early '60s, he began playing with reggae outfits and released solo LPs including 1969's Reco in Reggae Land (Paying a Tribute to Don Drummond) and 1976's influential Man from Wareika.
Our dear friend Rico passed away today.We offer our deepest condolences to his family.His legacy will go on forever and a day. RIP dear Rico— thespecials (@thespecials) September 4, 2015
Rodriguez joined up with the Specials in 1979, playing on the band's self-titled debut and 1980's More Specials, among other recordings. One of his most notable contributions to the ska act's canon was a trombone solo on their cover of Dandy Livingstone's "A Message to You, Rudy," a Top 10 hit in the UK. You can stream the single down below.
Over the years, Rodriguez would go on to play with the Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, as well as his own band. He was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2007.