|Birth name||Nerlynn Taitt|
22 June 1934|
San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
|Died||20 January 2010
|Genres||Ska, rocksteady, reggae|
|Years active||Early 1960s – 2006|
|Associated acts||The Sheiks, The Cavaliers, The Comets, Lynn Taitt and the Jets|
He was born Nerlynn Taitt, in San Fernando, Trinidad where, before taking up the guitar aged 14, he got his start as a musician playing in local steel drum bands. He formed his own band, which was booked by Byron Lee to perform at the 1962 independence celebrations in Jamaica. Taitt decided to stay in Jamaica, living in Kingston, and played in a number of bands including The Sheiks, The Cavaliers, and The Comets, and worked with Baba Brooks, The Skatalites and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. The most successful of his groups was The Jets, formed in 1966 and which included Hux Brown, Headley Bennett, Hopeton Lewis, Gladstone Anderson, and Winston Wright. Taitt's guitar style was inventive and unconventional, with a sharp percussive sound that accented the rocksteady beat. Lynn Taitt and the Jets played on hundreds of recording sessions for Jamaican producers such as Bunny Lee, Duke Reid, Joe Gibbs, Coxsone Dodd, and Sonia Pottinger, often performing up to five sessions a day. Their recording of "Take It Easy" was one of the first rocksteady singles and it reached number one in the Jamaican singles chart.
Taitt's contribution to Jamaican popular music includes his role as arranger and session leader for many of the recordings that he appeared on. He has been credited as having created the first rocksteady bassline, on the song "Take It Easy" by Hopeton Lewis. Various other Jamaican recordings have been cited as the "first" rocksteady release such as Alton Ellis & the Flames' "Girl I've Got a Date", and the Derrick Morgan rude boy anthem "Tougher Than Tough" with Lynn Taitt playing guitar on all of three.
Taitt emigrated to Toronto, Canada in August 1968, to take up the position of arranger for the house band at the West Indian Federated Club. Although he left Jamaica just before the rise of reggae, his playing was a strong influence on musicians such as Hux Brown who adapted Taitt's approach to the newer reggae style. Taitt's work can be heard on various 60s recordings by Derrick Morgan, Desmond Dekker, Lee Perry, Ken Boothe, Bob Marley and Joe Higgs, among others. He recorded with Johnny Nash on some of the latter's international hits, including "Cupid" and "Hold Me Tight".
Taitt remained active as a musician in Montreal, having recorded with such acts as The Kingpins ("Let's Go To Work" CD 1999) as well as performing live with the Montreal Ska All Stars and at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with The Jets (2002) and the Fabulous LoLo sings Rocksteady (2006).
- Glad Sounds (1968), Bigshot (Gladdy with Lynn Taitt & the Jets)
- Rock Steady: Greatest Hits (1968), Merritone (Lynn Taitt & the Jets)
- Hold Me Tight: Anthology 65-73 (2005), Trojan
- Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed January 2010
- Larkin, p.288
- Moskowitz, p.284-5
- Katz, p.46
- Dacks, David (2010) "Rocksteady Pioneer Lynn Taitt Dies in Montreal", Exclaim!, 22 January 2010, retrieved 2010-07-18
- Dreilinger, Danielle (2008) "He's putting reggae's roots on film", Boston Globe, 24 August 2008
- Katz, David (2000) People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee "Scratch" Perry, Payback Press, ISBN 0-86241-854-2
- Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9
- Moskowitz, David V. (2006) Caribbean Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-33158-8
- Walter, Basil (22 January 2010). "Lynn Taitt -- the musician's musician --dies in Canada". The Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 22 January 2010.