Dwight Pinkney

Dwight Pinkney - JAMAICAN MEMORIES BY THE SCORE - (ABENGG INTERNATIONAL, 1999) - CD. Whether they realize it or not, all reggae fans are familiar with the work of guitarist Dwight Pinkney. From his early days in the Sharks and Zap Pow, to his hugely successful years in Roots Radics, Pinkney has always been there in the background. Classic works by Gregory Isaacs, Wailing Souls, Eek-A-Mouse, Israel Vibration, Bunny Wailer, and countless others, have all carried the sounds of his lead guitar. In fact, it is because he has been in such high demand as both a live and session musician over the last three decades, that it is only now he is getting around to turning his attention to his own works. In the tradition of such greats as Lynn Taitt and Ernest Ranglin, Pinkney has released a wonderful album of instrumentals.'Jamaican Memories by The Score' is a unique CD in that itmanages to sound both modern and timeless. Dwight's guitar has an age-old quality about it, but the rhythms on this CD sound fresh. Pinkney has produced (along with Chalice bassist Keith Francis) an album that demonstrates a wealth of experience, and at the same time seems to be directly connected the current sounds of Kingston.

While his guitar playing is superb, Pinkney doesn't overcrowd the songs with too much soloing and guitar trickery Even with full instrumentation, splashes of backing vocals, and some great horns from veterans like Dean Fraser, the album is not cluttered. The songs are crisp and light, and are given their proper space to live and breath. Like all good lead guitarists, Dwight never strays too far from the rhythm. This CD is also interesting for its selection of songs.

From tunes like Gregory's 'Night Nurse' to Delroy Wilson's 'Better Must Come', the songs are all given unique and sensitive arrangements. Pinkney weighs in with two of his own compositions, the wonderful 'Promise Me - How Could I Live' (a song the Sharks recorded for Studio One) and the more recent 'El Nino'. Other highlights include great versions of Jimmy Cliff's 'Many Rivers to Cross' and the Paragons 'Memories by the Score'. From this CD it is obvious why Pinkney is still a much sought after guitarist. From today's hit-makers, to veteran singers and vocal groups, Dwight can still be heard making his contribution to reggae music. If Jamaican music continues down its recent path toward a more full and diverse sound, Dwight will surely be busy for years to come. While 'Jamaican Memories by the Score' might not be perfectly suited for a Saturday night dancehall session, it sure sounds great on a relaxed Sunday morning.

Jim Dooley