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Gladstone Anderson

Jamaican pianist, singer and ace session musician Gladstone "Gladdy" Anderson has had a behind the scenes impact on the island's music for nearly fifty years. Born June 18, 1934, in Jones Town on the outskirts of Kingston, Anderson was taught the piano by his uncle, bandleader and session organist Aubrey Adams. It was Adams who introduced the young musician to producer Duke Reid, who immediately installed Gladdy in his stable of Treasure Isle session players. Over the years Anderson has worked with Reid, Leslie Kong and virtually all of the notable Jamaican producers, but arguably did his best recording for Harry Mudie as the leader of Gladdy's All Stars. His speedy, treble-style piano playing during the ska era helped define the genre's sound, and he is even credited with being the first to call the later slowed down ska beat "rock steady" after a Hopeton Lewis session that yielded the hit "Take It Easy." Although predominantly a piano player, Anderson is also an occasional singer, joining with Stranger Cole (as Stranger and Gladdy) for duets on "We Shall Overcome," "Seeing Is Knowing" and the magnificent "Just Like a River," all of which were popular hits. Anderson has played on countless sessions, but has also sporadically issued albums of his own, including the beautiful piano and strings masterpiece It May Sound Silly in 1972, Gladdy Unlimited in 1977, Sings Songs for Today & Tomorrow in 1982, Get Closer in 1989, and the sublime Peace Pipe Dub, recorded at Channel One and released in 1993. He has also produced roots material for the Rite Sound label. ~ Steve Leggett
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