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Winston Jarrett was born in 1944 in Lime Tree Gardens in the parish of Saint Ann, Jamaica. By 1949, at age five, he was living in the Jonestown section of Kingston's notorious Trenchtown. By the early sixties, he had moved to Fourth Street a yard shared by Alton Ellis who, with Eddie Perkins, had recorded many sides for Sir Coxsone during the earliest years of the Jamaican recording industry. When Eddie left for America in 1965, Alton recruited Winston Jarrett and Eggar Gordon to form a new group, Alton & the Flames. After several months of intense practice they auditioned at Duke Reid's studio and won the endorsement of Leroy "Cuttings" Cole, Reid's number one selector. They were soon recording a series of classic rock steady anthems, and went on to score an extraordinary number of chart hits with songs like "Cry Tough", "Dance Crasher", "The Preacher", and "I Have Got a Date". After recording nearly forty tunes for Duke Reid, the group was lured away by Sir Coxsone (one of Bob Marley's first producers) who produced "I'm Still in Love" and other hits. In 1969, Alton Ellis toured England and decided to move there. With Alton's departure, Winston reformed the group as the 'Righteous Flames'.
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

Winston Jarrett
Winston Jarrett

With harmony from Eggar Gordon, they recorded six songs for Prince Buster before moving back to Coxsone's Studio One where they cut classics like "Easy Up", "You Don't Know", and "Born To Be Loved". Winston continued to work with Coxsone throughout the seventies recording nearly fifty titles. In addition to dozens of solo recordings, Winston backed up vocalists like Ken Boothe and Marcia Griffiths. The late eighties and nineties saw a string of terrific Winston Jarrett record releases on U.S. labels. In 1989 Nighthawk Records released the carefully crafted album "Jonestown". Winston came to the session with a fat song book of great tunes and supported by some of the finest musicians in reggae. Since the release of "Jonestown", Winston has produced an even stronger album for Alvin Ranglin's GG's Records that was released as "Solid Foundation" by Heartbeat/Rounder Records. In 1991 RAS Records worked with Winston to release "Kingston Vibrations" and later in 1995 "Too Many Boundaries". Both records meet a very high standard and on "Kingston Vibrations' Winston is backed by reggae greats 'The Roots Radics.' Winston is currently releasing singles in Jamaica to prepare for his up-coming album. As a forty-year veteran of the music business, Winston Jarrett is a focused and well turned performer. His records are pure roots rock reggae with no exceptions. His voice can reach back to the sweet sixties harmonies that he grew up with or it can growl and bark with the political defiant Jamaica in the seventies. His recordings seem to transcend place and time. Next to a rockers anthem on the playlist you will find a beautifully crafted love song with blissful harmonies. He is mesmerizing in performance. With such a large catalog to draw from, Winston Jarrett is a delight to reggae fans of all ages. The Sierra Nevada World Music festival welcomes this reggae legend to Sunday's summer solstice celebration lineup.

Artist Biography courtesy of Andrew Seidel

 

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