JOHNNY Gourzoung of SummerFest Productions has indicated that his organisation will honour the late Sugar Minott with a special tribute and musical dedication on International Night Two Saturday, July 24.
Minott passed away on Saturday, July 10 from an undisclosed illness, sending the music fraternity into shockwaves. The Reggae Sumfest team, aware of his influence and impact on the Reggae genre, felt it was appropriate to honour the musical giant because of his immense contribution to Reggae music.
“Reggae Sumfest is about celebrating good music, and Sugar Minott is unquestionably one of Jamaica’s treasures in terms of providing good music. It was only fitting that we made this dedication to him,” stated Gourzong, executive producer of the show. “His contribution to the musical landscape is huge and commendable, and this is our way of saying thank you.”
International Night Two will be dedicated to his memory, and there will be a brief musical tribute from artistes who ruled the stage alongside Sugar Minott in Reggae’s earlier development. The dedication will feature Tristan Palmer, Jimmy Riley, Little John and Tony Tuff, close associates of Sugar Minott. The backing band and musical selections will be arranged by Dean Fraser, another veteran in the music business, a personal friend of Sugar Minott who watched him grow musically.
“I have known Sugar Minott since childhood, so it’s special on a personal level, because we go far back, so that is why I personally chose to be a part of this,” explained Dean. “We ended up in the music together, plus there is a lot of respect for Sugar himself, because this is a man who has done plenty in the business. He did even more than people realise. At one time he was the biggest thing in the UK, no other singer had the kind of respect that he had in the UK. Sugar did a lot, he was one of the pioneers in the Japanese markets, he is a big icon in this business and he has done well.”
Sugar Minott got his break in the business through the sound system circuit with tunes such as Ruff Ole Life, River Jordan, Vanity and Mr DC. In the 1980s, he began working with established producers such as Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, and Winston ‘Niney’ Holness. Herbsman Hustling, produced by the former, became his first big radio, but arguably his biggest seller was a cover of the Jackson Five’s Good Thing Going which peaked at number four on the British national charts in 1981.
Sugar Minott has also been a repeat performer at Reggae Sumfest, earning tremendous accolades and acclaim for his stage craft. However, his last performance in 2004 seems to be one of the most remarkable appearances, prompting encouraging media reviews and reports. Sugar Minott was the big act given the task of closing the show on what was known that year as Foundation Night. He made a classic delivery of his most famous tunes, and delivered an outstanding performance. One memorable moment of that show was his wearing a backpack on stage while delivering the tune Mr DC. The crowd loved every minute of his last Reggae Sumfest performance, and gave him the recognition he worked for and deserved as a Reggae veteran.
International Night Two will also feature Usher, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Gramps Morgan and Tarrus Riley. Reggae Sumfest remains the most celebrated and supported Reggae Festival in Jamaica, and attracts the world’s leading musicians and performers. In its near 20-year history, the show has boasted a superb entertainment package, loaded with the best performances, food, music, and culture. The festival continues until Saturday at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay.