Don Drummond

For the Canadian economist, see Don Drummond (economist).
Don Drummond
Background information
Born (1932-03-12)12 March 1932
Kingston, Jamaica
Died 6 May 1969 (1969-05-07) (aged 37)
Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Ska
Instruments Trombone
Years active 19501965
Associated acts The Skatalites

Don Drummond (12 March 1932[1][2][3][4] 6 May 1969) was a Jamaican ska trombonist and composer. He was one of the original members of The Skatalites, and composed many of their tunes.

Drummond was born at the Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, to Doris Monroe and Uriah Drummond.[3] He was educated at Kingston's Alpha Boys School, where he later taught his younger schoolmate Rico Rodriguez to play the trombone.[5]

His musical career began in 1950 with the Eric Dean's All-Stars where he performed jazz.[2] He continued into the 1960s with others, including Kenny Williams.

After performing jazz for a decade, Drummond began performing ska and in 1964 Don joined The Skatalites. With Drummond's politicized conversion to the Rastafari movement, other band members followed his lead.[6] He became a household name in Jamaica, before suffering mental problems. He was rated by pianist George Shearing to be among the world's top five trombone players.

In 1965 Drummond was convicted of the murder of his longtime girlfriend, Anita "Marguerita" Mahfood, an exotic rhumba dancer and singer, on 1 January 1965. He was ruled criminally insane and imprisoned at Bellevue Asylum, Kingston, where he remained until his death four years later.[7] The official cause of death was "natural causes", possibly heart failure caused by malnutrition or improper medication,[3] but other theories were put forward; some of his colleagues believed it was a government plot against the Kingston musical scene, and some believed that he was killed by gangsters as revenge for the murder of Mahfood.[8] Heather Augustyn, author of a biography of Drummond published in 2013 claimed to have proved that Drummond's death was caused by his medications.[9]

In 2013, a ballet telling the story of Drummond's life was performed by the National Dance Theatre Company.[10] Created by Clive Thompson, the ballet is titled Malungu, which was Mahfood's pet name for Drummond.[10]

In 2013 a comprehensive biography of Don Drummond was published by McFarland Publishing. Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World's Greatest Trombonist by Heather Augustyn features a foreword by Delfeayo Marsalis.[11]


  1. Augustyn, Heather (2013). Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World's Greatest Trombonist. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-7547-6.
  2. 1 2 Walker, Klive (2005). Dubwise: reasoning from the reggae underground. Insomniac Press. p. 126. ISBN 1-894663-96-9.
  3. 1 2 3 Cane-Honeysett, L: Don Drummond Memorial Album, liner notes. Trojan 2009.
  4. Other sources such as Larkin, Colin (2005): The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin. ISBN 0-7535-0242-9 state his year of birth as 1943.
  5. biography for Rico Rodriguez
  6. Porter, Darwin & Danforth Prince (2006). Frommer's Jamaica, Edition 4 (Illustrated). London: Frommer's. p. 262. ISBN 0-471-94614-1, ISBN 978-0-471-94614-4.
  7. Campbell, Howard (2013) "Don D's Rebirth", Jamaica Observer, 15 August 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013
  8. Timm, Bob (22 August 1997). "Was Don Drummond Murdered?". Archived from the original on 28 April 2005. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  9. "Don Drummond Biography - Interview with Author Heather Augustyn". Reggae Steady Ska. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  10. 1 2 Johnson, Richard (2013) "A Ballet for 'Don D'", Jamaica Observer, 21 July 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013
  11. "Don Drummond book out". Jamaica Gleaner. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.

External links

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