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THE NIGHT RON BERRIDGE DROPPED A "BOMB"

The talk had been spreading for months.

Ron Berridge, the former trumpet player for the Clarence Curvan Orchestra, was forming a super group made up of some of the best musicians in the land.

Included were such music stalwarts as Roy Cape on alto saxophone, the man we knew as "Oxley" on trombone, the Berridge brothers on trumpets, and a quirky guitarist from south called Earl Lezama.

The rhythm was anchored by "Toby" Tobias on drums and master bassist Conrad Little.

Even the conga player, Terry was an extremely skilled and versatile drummer.

And then there was  Billy Green, one of the Green brothers who were also founding members of the legendary Southern Marines Steel orchestra.

Billy was probably the best timbales player ever from Trinidad, and one of the two best to come out of Marabella,( the other being my former band mate Wendell (Creeper) Reece, but I digress).

The night came for the band's debut performance at the Naparima Club in San Fernando, and in the audience were musicians, music lovers, and musician wannabees (like myself) and plain old party people.

We all waited impatiently, and finally the signal was given and the band started to play.

The tune chosen for their introduction was called "Tuxedo Junction", which was a number one hit from 1939 by the Glenn Miller orchestra.

No one danced; everyone listened intently as the band strutted its stuff.

The arrangement featured muted trumpets, a rarity in Trinidad music at that time, and we all stood spellbound.

Standing next to me, was the famous trumpet player Frank Joseph (no relation).

I heard him mutter" It's so good when musicians understand each other"

Finally the music was over, and we all applauded.

The BEST big band ever to come out of Trinidad had appeared on the scene.

Ron Berridge had indeed dropped his bomb.

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Comment by VALENTINE YOUNG on August 16, 2011 at 9:50am
I grew up in that era. Clarence Curvan was my favourite band, and as I grew older the music of the Dutchy Bro. took away my attention from Clarence Curvan, but the band that blew everyone out of the water was Ron Berridge. There was never a band in Trinidad that ever had that lush sound of marriage between melody and harmony, their orchrestration was superb. No other band could of matched their unique sound. The sounded like an up grade of the Glenn Miller Orch. Thanks for the Music Sir Ron Berridge. A thought just came to mind. Could anyone imagine if Ron Berridge had ever arranged a Panorama piece for a large Conventional band?
Comment by Cecil hinkson on July 29, 2011 at 6:46pm
Memories
Comment by Cecil hinkson on July 28, 2011 at 11:51pm

Back in the day anytime there was a Ball be it Black and White, Pink and White or anything and White Sel Duncan was the band, The older folks liked to dance to Sel Duncan, they would start at one end of the hall and end up at the other end and they would tell you boy, that is dancing. lol!

 Glenroy, thanks for the menories.

Comment by evan lobo on July 28, 2011 at 11:42pm
only recently we were discussing - trini brass bands- mr mannings super dollar group divine echoes was a joke to rb band- remember the first time at portuguese club round d savannah i heard them- clarry wears on guitar and mano on percussion and gary salandy also on guitar- what a real super group
Comment by Cecil hinkson on July 28, 2011 at 11:29pm
Glenroy when Ron Berridge came out he had the best men from Clarence Curvan no wonder his band was the best. To me they all had their time at the top.
Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on July 28, 2011 at 10:51pm
The CDs "Vintage Ron Berrridge Vols. 1, 2, and 3 are available from several sources on the web.
they are available for download at the WACK FM radio music store.

http://www.wackradio901fm.com/index.php?option=com_maian15&view...

I've had downloading problems with WACK, but you may have better luck.

You can also order the cds at the Dominican site sensay.com

http://www.sensay.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/berridge1.html

i've had better luck with them.
Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on July 28, 2011 at 6:54pm
By the way, Mr Berridge, I knew you were a member of this forum, so i tried to make sure my recollections were correct.

As I remember, It happened exactly as I said.

Feel free to correct me if I misstated anything.
Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on July 28, 2011 at 6:50pm
People, the proof is in the pudding.

Tthere are Ron two Ron Berridge albums available on the web- Vintage Ron Berridge Vols 1 & 2.

Google them.Listen for yourself.

Or I can send you a link.

And , by the way, I do not know Mr Berridge personally.

I just have tremendous respect for him and his music..
Comment by Ron Berridge on July 28, 2011 at 6:33pm
Glenroy, I am always disappointed when this topic comes up. My interpretation of a big band is 3 trumpets, 2 trombone, 3 or 4 saxes, piano. guitar, bass, drums, percussion and may be a singer. Only two of the bands mentioned almost met that criterion. Ray Sylvester and Mano Macellin. When I opened my band I was looking for a sound that we used to call foreign or American like. In other words, Professional! I accomplish that by picking musicians base on the tone that came out of their horns, and harmonization when writing my scores.
I actually had a lot of fun doing what I did, and had no idea that today it would be a topic of discussion. The bands I would consider Big Bands of Trinidad are as follows; Cyril Ramdeo, Bob Wilson, Watsonians and the Police Band if considered. Anyhow thanks for remembering.
Ron Berridge.
Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on July 28, 2011 at 6:32pm
I've heard them all.
Clarence Gurvan was my favorite.

I still remember the first time I heard Joey Lewis.My mother had sent me to the store, we lived in Princes Town at the time. I was twelve or thirteen, and across the street was a store was a juke box in a rum shop.

Suddenly I heard a guitar wailing across the street. I had never heard anything like that and I ran across the street.. It was Joey Lewis and the intro to "Joey's Saga".

I can still hear it in my mind.

I fell in love with the Joey Lewis band, and it remained until the Clarence Curvan Orchestra stole my affections.
..
I knew the Dutchys, and I could give anecdotes of the time I went along with the band ,when whey borrowed an amplifier from my combo band , Silhouettes from Marabella.

I partied to Fitz Vaughn Bryan band when his band was on top, with musicians like Frankie Joseph on trumpet, Oxley on trombone, Les Sargent on guitar, and other top musicians.

I danced to Sel Duncan in semi-formal affairs which was his specialty.

I even played in a big band in Trini, the Louis Bryce Orchestra of Marabella.( Ii was in the rhythm section)

So believe me when I say that IMHO the Ron Berridge orchestra was the best of them all.

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