- Amended anti-money laundering bill passed
- Operators vow further legal action to halt Ogle airport name change
- Balwant Singh Hospital says offering 24-hr cardiac care, full-time cardiologist
- US unveils US$10m for clean energy proposals from Caribbean, Central America
- Parfait Harmonie man dies after car submerged in trench
- Hopes high for Jamaican schools at Penn Relays
- Arnett Gardens depart for Haiti to hunt CONCACAF Champions League berth
- Inner-City seek second straight win in St James D2 football
- Caribbean Choice, ATL Automotive Limited team up to boost Jamaica Oaks Race Day
- J’can trio for junior Caribbean boxing tourney in Guyana
- Newcastle United release Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux
- Sport picture of the day: River Plate fans' star turn
- Lewis Hamilton’s week: Russia, New York, Athens, London, Miami, then Barbados
- England rugby squad’s workload puts welfare at risk, warns players’ union
- Rugby union’s brutal reality: the physical and mental toll of an elite playing career | Michael Aylwin
Steelpan At San Diego Zoo
Gregg Paxton grew up on the beach and plays pan for a living. His repertoire includes Bob Marley, Harry Belafonte, and a long list of calypso standards and Panorama tunes. He worships at the altar of Len "Boogsie" Sharpe. But Paxton has never set foot on the soil of Trinidad and Tobago.
We found him jamming with his band "Three Hour Tour", (inspired by Gilligan's Island) at the San Diego Zoo on a bright summer afternoon. The melody that rolled ever so smoothly off his shiny tenor pan was merely wallpaper, providing background music for the main attraction, a group of lucky kids dancing off in a hula-hoop contest.
Paxton said he was cold calling agents in the Los Angeles area, and suddenly decided to call an agent from his hometown of San Diego. He got lucky when the agent asked if he could play 72 shows. He was excited to be playing the gig since his band was just one year old, and he actually switched from playing drum sets to steel drums only two years ago. "I've been writing music for a long time," he told wedepeople. "I fell in love with the sound of the instrument. I wanted to play something more melodic, and I felt with my percussion background I could easily play a melody on the pan."
His first exposure to steelpan came 15 years ago, while pursuing a music degree at Long Beach State University. He said has been playing drums with Caribbean groups since then, and has been widely exposed to music from up and down the islands of the West Indies. "I also fell in love with that kind of music, calypso and reggae" he said. "Bob Marley is the King, may he rest in peace. I consider him the Beatles of reggae. He was a songwriter first, really. And there's a guy named Len Boogsie Sharpe, B-o-o-g-s-i-e, I think is how you spell his name" Paxton continued. "He is the Mozart of Caribbean music. Genius, I think. (I discovered him when) other players say you gotta check him out. There are a lot of good steel drummers out in L-A."
Paxton said Boogsie's pan arrangements are among his favorites, although he has never been to Triinidad's Panorama, a fact that haunts the back of his mind and brings on a bit of unwarranted guilt, more so as he realizes he is being interviewed by a real live Trini. "I always say maybe I shouldn't play the instrument until I go down there and see what its really like," he says.
Three Hour Tour just released a new album. You can find details on Paxton's website at threehourtourmusic.com.