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Brooklyn group to honor Vincy musical arranger

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A Brooklyn-based group says it will bestow its Accolade Award on renowned Vincentian-born musical arranger and producer Franklyn “Frankie” McIntosh on Oct. 6 at the Russell’s Auditorium in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital.

A&AT Promotion, founded by former Inspector of Police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Arden C. Tannis and his Barbadian wife, Dr. Arlette Tannis, told Caribbean Life that McIntosh will be honored for his “lifetime contribution to the development of Vincy/Caribbean music.”

Tannis, who heads A&AT Promotion and is president of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Association of New York, Inc., said the “ABC of Calypso,” Alston Becket Cyrus, will “headline a cast of artistes, who will perform many of Franklyn’s musical creations.”

The line-up, among others, includes Vincentian songstress Judy Boucher; Barbadian Lilian Lorde; St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ 2018 Calypso King and Queen Zamfir Adams and Joanna Christopher, respectively; and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cadet Force Band.

“Accolade, the event, is intended to give accolades to whom it is due, while they are alive, and to appreciate the sentiment expressed by persons whose lives were touched,” Tannis said.

“The Accolade trophy is given only to persons who would have made lifetime contribution to the music and creative industry in the Caribbean,” he added.

Tannis said the show

“brings today’s up and coming artisans with those of yesteryear who would have blazed the trail for them to follow.”

He said the Accolade trophy is “a unique piece of craftsmanship made in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with significant patriotic, cultural and monetary value, which represents the character of the recipient, Mr. Franklyn McIntosh.”

The inaugural awards ceremony was held last year at the Russell’s Auditorium.

At that event, Boucher — who was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of her hit single, “Can’t be with You Tonight,” the hit that catapulted her to international recognition — received the Accolate Award.

In October 2015, McIntosh was inducted into the Sunshine Awards Hall of Fame in New York.

Prior to the induction, on Oct. 1, 2015, the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian reported that McIntosh, since the mid-1970s, has arranged over 2,500 songs and led recording sessions “with almost every important calypsonian and soca artist in the Caribbean.

“He is a member of the elite pantheon of arrangers, incluing Ed Watson, Leston Paul, Clive Bradley and Pelham Goddard, who helped forge the revolutionary soca style in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” the paper said.

The Guardian noted at St. Vincent and the Grenadines “has aready given McIntosh the rare honor of putting him on a stamp.”’

McIntosh was born in Kingstown in 1946. His father, Arthur McIntosh, led a popular dance orchestra, the Melotones.

The band played primarily instrumental dance orchestrations of calypso, Latin, and American stan-dards, but members gathered at the McIntosh home on Sunday afternoons for jazz jam sessions, the Guardian said.

It said McIntosh took piano lessons as a youngster, starting at nine, then joined his father’s band at 10 and formed his own band by 14.

After graduating high school and teaching in Antigua and Barbuda for three years, McIntosh migrated to New York and began studying music at Brooklyn College in 1968.

While earning a bachelor’s degree in music at Brooklyn College and a master’s in music at New York University, he played keyboards with several Caribbean and American R&B groups, and “jammed with leading New York jazz musicians,” the Guardian said.

It said McIntosh trained under many leading musicians, including John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet and Chopin expert Zenon Fishbein.

According to the Guardian, McIntosh’s “first foray into calypso” came in the summer of 1976, when Becket, who had recently relocated to New York, approached him about “tightening up several of his calypso arrangements for an upcoming Manhattan boat-ride engagement.

“The two hit it off, and, shortly after, McIntosh arranged his first calypso recordings for Becket’s 1977 Disco Calypso album, which included Becket’s most popular song, ‘Coming High,’” the Guardian reported.

Vincentian Granville Straker, Brooklyn’s premiere record producer at the time, was “highly im-pressed” with the Becket recordings, and, in 1978, approached McIntosh about arranging for his label, the Guardian said.

“The two Vincentians would go on to forge a musical alliance that would last for decades,” it added, stating that McIntosh became musical director for Straker’s Records, “organizing the house record-ing band and arranging for dozens of Straker’s calypsonia­ns,” including Chalkdust, Shadow, Calypso Rose, Winston Soso, Poser, Lord Nelson, Singing Francine, Duke and King Wellington, among others.

McIntosh also went on to arrange for Brooklyn’s other major calypso/soca labels, Charlie’s Records and B’s Records.

As the music moved into the 1980s, the Guardian said McIntosh emerged at the forefront of the new soca style, with arrangements famous for their innovative horn lines, catchy synthesizer figures and sophisticated harmonic settings.

Though McIntosh maintained his permanent resi-dence in Brooklyn, the paper said his influence was felt throughout the Caribbean.

It said classic calypsos that won the Trinidad and Tobago’s Calypso Monarch for Chalkdust in 1981 (“Things That Worry Me”) and 1989 (“Chauffer Wanted”), and the Road March for Sparrow in 1984 (“Doh Back Back”) and for Duke in 1987 (“Thunder”) featured McIntosh arrange¬¨ments.

Over the years, McIntosh has performed at popu-lar jazz festivals, like the Barbados Jazz Festival and the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, the Guardian said.

It said that, in recent times, McIntosh “has been heard around Brooklyn” with the talented Trinidadian pannist Garvin Blake, whose latest CD, “Parallel Overtures,” McIn¬¨tosh arranged.

Posted 12:00 am, September 25, 2018
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