b. 16 September 1944, Duckenfield, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 27 October 2000, Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA. This accomplished session drummer and performer’s history dates back to the origins of reggae music in the 60s as a studio musician for Studio One, Treasure Isle, Dynamix, Federal and Island Records. Grennan played on hundreds of classic rocksteady and reggae hits by artists including the Paragons (‘The Tide Is High’), Laurel Aitken (‘I Remember’), Phylis Dillon (‘Moonlight Lover’), Carl Dawkins (‘Baby I Love You’), Jackie Edwards (‘Black Queen Arise’), Alton Ellis (‘Sunday Coming’), Hopeton Lewis (‘Grooving Out On Life’), Bob Marley (‘Rock My Boat’, ‘Satisfy My Soul’, ‘Concrete Jungle’), the Melodians (‘Rivers Of Babylon’, ‘Little Nut Tree’ and ‘Build Me Up By Faith’), Count Prince Miller (‘Mule Train’), Derrick Morgan (‘Hold Your Jack, Let Me Tie You Jeannie’) and Prince Buster (‘Judge Dread’, ‘Wreck A Pum Pum’). His one-drop rhythm, which accentuated the snare drum stoke on the third beat, was the defining sound of many of these hits. Grennan also recorded with Jimmy Cliff (‘Many Rivers To Cross’, ‘The Harder They Come’), and featured as the drummer in the film of The Harder They Come. He moved to America in 1972, where he diversified into the jazz and rock idioms, performing and recording with Robin Kenyatta, Dizzy Gillespie, Garland Jeffries, Eric Gale, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Mann, Deodato, Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and Kid Creole And The Coconuts (he can be seen performing on the 1982 release Live In Concert At The Ritz New York). Grennan is also a prolific composer, with ‘Savior’ featured on the soundtrack of the Mickey Rourke/Kim Basinger movie 9 1/2 Weeks. Beginning in 1987, he performed with his Ska Rocks Band, playing his own ‘Swegway’ style, a combination of Caribbean rhythms and American popular music. The group also supported visiting Jamaican acts including Pat Kelly and the Clarendonians. Washover Gold demonstrated the artist’s vocal and trombone talents with guest musicians including Lynn Taitt, Andy Bassford and Tony Culture. Notable tracks include a tribute to Don Drummond, ‘Colourful Faces’ and ‘Domestic Violence’. The performer assigned a portion of the proceeds from the album to help finance the work of the US-based Family Violence Prevention Fund. Grennan, who died of cancer in October 2000, has been labelled the Master Drummer Of Jamaica by Tommy Cowan and the Unknown Legend by Willie Stewart of Third World.Portions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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