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Which Arranger Made The Biggest Impact On Our Large Bands Panorama?

From 1963 to Present Which Large Band Panorama Arranger Had The Biggest Impact on Our Panorama Music. Why Would You Choose That Arranger?

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I choose Tony Williams and Bobby Mohammed because of the time they did their stuff, it was in the early days of panorama,no one really knew what a panorama piece should sound like.

Bradley came when everything was already in place so all he had to do was his music, Tony was designing stands, tuning pans plus arranging. If we were to put Tony and Bobby in Bradley days things might have been different.

Biggest Impact?  Clive Bradley.  A no brainer.

I have to agree and lament the fact that The Beverly Griffith
Impact is not credited here . He brought bee bop to Pan music.

Nice, but wrong question!

Panorama is an evolving art form.

Arrangers are different and have different impacts at different times.

They shape the art form with each different treatment they bring,
influencing (or not) the next move along.

And to say which is best; like Curry or Sugar; is a non starter.

Better to ask; Who influenced…?

Find here:

First Decade of Panorama - Emergence of the Formula

To see who is considered to have done what.


Slide 9 - Winning "Own Tunes"

More spice for an argument! (eh... discussion, sorry)

And see all the stats (but absolutely useless for this discussion here):

Summary TT Arranger Champions

And find that: The most successful Panorama Arranger is not who you think!

Summary TT Steelband Champions


Jeremy, I have to agree with you “Panorama is an evolving art form; arrangers are different and have different impacts at different times. They shape the art form with each different treatment they bring,
Influencing (or not) the next move along.” Bradley did say in 98 he wanted to move it forward with his “High Mas”

While I understand this was part of an academic exercise, I don’t see any analysis for Jit, Smooth or Boogsie. I take it that that Clive still holds the title of arranger who had an impact in each decade from the 70s until he passed in 2005….

Emergence of the Formula

Anthony “Tony” Williams North Stars you describe “classical” - arpeggiated hamonies, contrapuntal passages, and modulations.

Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed Cavaliers “excitement” - rhythm breaks, varying textures, dramatic dynamic contrasts.

Earl Rodney Harmonites “power” - volume, fast tempos, syncopated bass lines, minor keys, montuno-based jam sections.

Ray Holman Starlift, complex harmonies, melodies in the bass part, liberal reinterpretation of “mood” of the original calypso.

Clive Bradley Desperadoes, Nutones “clarity” - separation of parts in orchestration based on range and function; elevating the groove via repetition and layered, or interlocking, rhythms; melody-strum-bass foundational texture.

What is Panorama?

Ignore. I have cancelled this upload because in wrong place...


Thanks for this clip, and for that summation of what Jeremy brought to the table.

Jeremy is right in what he suggests (by implication) for a methodology. To determine the "impact" of each arranger, one ought to look at the body of work they contributed, and somehow look to see how the art form changed as a result of that contribution. That is a tough task, requiring heroic summative powers. But without some attempt, it is hard to say what the impact  of each was, let alone apply some sort of metric to it to give a further summation as to who had the "biggest" impact.

Jeremy has a point that it's the wrong question when viewed in the context of the evolving nature of the art form. But Val's question nevertheless stands, if we understand and accept implicitly that the art form resists analysis at least to the extent that it is still evolving.

Hence, to even attempt an objective answer to Val's question, one must at the very least look at the contribution made by every arranger, and do as Glenroy suggests in the case of the contribution of Bobby Mohammed: look at the art form before the arranger's signal contribution, and the art form after. 

After one has done that, it may or may not be a no-brainer as to whom must go the accolade that follows an answer to Val's question.

The material that Jeremy has brought into the discussion suggests clearly that the matter is far from clear-cut. There is much there to sift and assess, with the contributions of Jit, Boogsie, and Smooth, still remaining to be added to the mix.

I have settled on Smooth, for reasons I have articulated: he more than anyone else, since at least the 80s, has defined, and seems well able to defend, the cultural and artistic centre of the art form.

If Smooth (and Bradley also, certainly) define cultural orthodoxy, then Jit (and Anthony Williams) must exemplify the heterodoxy that tended to the classical, while Boogsie (along with Ray, Andy, Beverly, and others) exemplify the heterodoxy that tended to jazz. 

One cannot say that the "orthodox" is necessarily "better" than the "heterodox". For every change to an evolving art form is necessarily heterodox, relative to what has gone before. The necessary balancing act is to introduce change only in small doses relative to established orthodoxy. Andy went too far in his contributions, and therefore remained marginal at best. Boogsie certainly pushed the envelope, year after year, and contrary to the name of his band, but to his credit, never settled into any sort of predictable "groove".

I liked Boogsie's heterodoxy. But what I also liked was that Boogsie never (well almost never) departed from the one absolute requirement of the art form, namely that the music must somehow pay homage to the "road", and to that era of the carnival when steelbands ruled the road, and played music to propel revellers along the road on a carnival day, and at its best to transport them into a bliss state where they would feel no pain, at least for a time. The pain -- the thirst, the fatigue, the blistered feet, and etc -- could well come back, but only after the music stopped. Boogsie, however heterodox, always seemed to throw in the bassline rhythms and riffs to put us, in the imagination, back on the road on carnival day. Check out Fire down below, Woman is boss, Dis Feeling Nice, as a few examples. Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jopku55GRRs, where he shows how he layered the arrangement of the last, and note where he says, "picture yourself going down the road...".

Be that as it may, as in any other folk art, the heterodox must yield to the orthodox. Otherwise it's not really a folk art, but art for the artistic elite. Therefore, those artists who establish and defend the centre, as defined by the folk considered as a whole, should be ones to be considered as defining the doxology of the art form:

doxology. n. a liturgical formula of praise to God.
Finding the panorama "formula" is finding what in another context is deemed a doxology. I think that the panorama doxology was found in the late 80s/early 90s. I will leave it to the musicologists to define in more precise musicological terms what that doxology is. 
Let me though suggest the thought that until that doxology was found, we were in a "low pressure" situation where anybody could "try a ting". That was the first decade of Panorama. Having now gone through the golden age of pan and come out of it with a doxology fairly well defined, however vaguely, we are now in a "high pressure" situation where a normative orthodoxy is well established. In that high pressure situation, there is greater resistance to heterodoxy in general, and therefore heterodox "impact" will be measured in ever smaller increments. Zanda's contribution is incremental in that sense.

Outside of the Panorama context, steelband is still in "low pressure" mode everywhere else, and the way is wide open for it to move and to adapt in all kinds of ways, in interaction with the musical traditions of the folk, in all the countries to which it has been exported. 
-Big Sid


Re: Jit's Impact

I have to add a coda to what I've  already said.

I have identified the cultural and artistic centre of the Panorama art form with Smooth and Bradley. But that's in TriniAdad and Tobago specifically. I even made the  point that Smooth's arrangement of Woman on de Bass could serve as a test piece for a foreign band. If they can get all the rhythmic and syncopative variations right, then they have mastered the art form as we know it in T&T.

Even so, it has now to be conceded that Jit's idea of a Panorama piece is what has captured the imagination of the world outside, undoubtedly because of his tendency to the classical polarity. Pan in A minor is of course the Panorama classic that is now known world-wide, more than any other, with Jit's arrangement of that being normative.

Likewise, Kitch's last Panorama composition, Toco Band, has been quietly gaining popularity world-wide as a tune of choice for steelbands all over the world. This tune is interesting as a sort of way to test, based on such world-wide acceptance, the  relative impact in that global sense, of Jit, Bradley and Boogsie, since they all laid down arrangements of that tune at Panorama 1999.

I've done a quick scan online at Youtube, and it does appear that it is again Jit's arrangement that is again nearest to normative. Boogsie's is second place. My sampling is not exhaustive, so apply the necessary salt to this still tentative conclusion.

On that basis, namely considering global (but non-T&T) impact, I have objectively to say that Jit has had the biggest world-wide impact as a Panorama arranger.  

Within T&T,  I still think the normative high ground rests with Smooth and Bradley.

-Big Sid

 S.F. Thomas,

I concur fully. This is why I didn’t just say “Hey this guy is the best” I put a list of tunes, in my opinion shun brightest on the night of panorama and were more memorable in the years that followed.

My point on Boogsie, is he pushes the envelope but never wins with that tune. He reverts to his legacy music and wins.

Red White and Black, falls in the envelope bracket for me. To say simplicity wins or the judges didn’t hear the tune correctly is a myth. You could see it in the faces of the Phase II players when they know they have a winner. 2017 was not one of those, even from the prelims.

My choice of Smooth, is because he takes tunes other say are impossible to arrange and make them hits, this takes skill.

If you only arrange what you have written then even if it’s the best song it is still your own arrangement.

I don’t doubt Boogsie’s talent and genius, however I would love to see him arrange something for Phase II he didn’t compose. 

Mr. S.F.Thomas in your last paragraph you said you don't doubt Boogsie's talent and genius, however you would love to see him arrange something for Phase 11 he didn't compose. My question is, Boogsie arrange Woman On The Bass a tune he did not compose for Phase 11 for the I C P Panorama,  Does this count  or you are only thinking about the National Panorama. Just asking a question here.


That was not me saying that. Martin will have to answer to that question.

But you are right. As another couple of examples:

Boogsie did an excellent arrangement of Toco Band that Invaders played almost to perfection at the 2000 World Steelband Festival; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ9lHg7rXcY.

He also did a beautiful arrangement of Nessum Dorma for Skiffle that I sometimes listen to on repeat; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCeSfwd6KRc.

-Big Sid


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