Trumpeter Sonny Grey (1925-1987) was part of a new breed of Jamaican musicians that emerged in the late 40s, including such greats as Joe Harriott, Dizzy Reece, Shake Keane, Harold McNair, and Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair. In 1951 he visited England with Joe Harriott as part of the “Jamaica All Stars”. Two years later he moved to Paris, where he spent the better part of a decade as a sideman in various orchestras and at jam sessions.
His greatest triumph would come in 1963, when he organized and led his own Big Band. It had verve and spirit, reflecting a leader able to get the best of his men. His fame grew rapidly despite the continuous personnel turnover, and the band generally swung effectively, aided by a diversified book, vibrant soloists, the ensemble’s all-embracing warmth and the general sense of good feeling it conveyed.
In May 1968 Grey joined trumpet section of the Francy...