The Jays is a group that has made its mark on the Jamaican music scene, with hits such as "Queen Majesty", "Truly", "Yaho" or "Pick Up The Pieces". They originally started out as The Royals, evolved into The Ten Pace and then into the The Jays, and are now composed of Lloyd Forrest, Errol Wilson and Leroy Hall.
Errol Wilson and Lloyd Forest started in The Royals in the mid-60s, famous for Pick Up The Pieces, their first major hit, a foundation riddim, one of the classics today in the dancehall scene, recorded for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One. Lloyd Forest became a member of The Chantels, while Errol Wilson was part of Blach Uhuru in the mid/late 70s, singing harmonies on their first album, "Love Crisis", for Prince Jammy (1977), later reissued as "Black Sounds Of Freedom", after the band had found success. But Errol left the band to concentrate on his own band, The Jays (or The Jayes). Leroy Hall joined them in 2003 and they released together "The Right Solution" album, on Studio One. But Coxsone died in 2004...
In 2005 they met Grant Phabao who had come to Jamaica to visit his friend and collaborator The Lone Ranger. Ranger introduced Phabao to some of his singers and deejays friends, Ranking Trevor, Purpleman, Danny Dread, Echo Minott, Sancho, Mylitan, who all recorded a song on Phabao's riddim, while The Jays did three: "Zion Holy Place", "Agatha" and "Stepping up In Time". During the winter of 2006 Grant Phabao did some reworks of some Jays reggae songs he had produced, into funk and jazz dressings. When he came back to Jamaica in March 2008 the band wrote and recorded 9 new songs, 5 of which with only a shaker to sing on - and without a single false note!
During the summer of 2009 a strictly limited 7 inch was pressed at 100 copies in Jamaica, released by the T.I.M.E.C. label with their distinctive 'instant collectors' uniqueness. The A-side, Don't Sell Your Soul is a smashing roots reggae monster, with huge vocal harmonies on a deep and burning Grant Phabao riddim, but the gem of the record might be on the B-side, Zion Holy Place, a spiritual gospel/jazz piece on which the Jamaican church-infused harmonies of The Jays fit like a glove.
Being in the business for almost 40 years, The Jays are now back, as fresh as ever, ready to hit the charts with their new single, Stepping Up In Time, available in two versions, a roots one drop reggae tearing up the dancehalls, or a funk/rock rework for the less dready - both produced & engineered by Grant Phabao.
The full-length album Stepping up In Time is now ready to be released, arriving in March 2013 through the Paris DJs label, and to be followed by a remix collection scheduled right on time for the summer.
released 15 January 2013
Guillaume Méténier (Soul Sugar) : organ, clavinet (A1), rhodes (B1)
Philippe Niel : clavinet part (B1)
Alain Granat : guitar parts (B1)
All other instruments, production and audio mastering by Grant Phabao
Written by Errol Wilson
Composed by Fabien Préaux
Artwork by Antoine Limare
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