Lauded by his quaint community of Islington in the rolling hills of St. Mary, lives seventeen (17) year old Malik Clarke – an upcoming Saxophonist. Yes, saxophonist. It isn’t your typical rural area pastime engagement but the twelfth (12th) grade St. Mary High School student hopes to follow in the big footsteps of Dean Fraser – a famous Jamaican saxophonist whose work transcends those before him and whose legacy testifies of his greatness.
Dean Ivanhoe Fraser, a legendary Jamaican saxophonist has given of his talent to hundreds of reggae recordings and is highly regarded as one of the island’s top musicians. At the ripe age of twenty (20), Dean joined Rocksteady extraordinaire, Lloyd Parks’ We the People Band, playing back up to Dennis Brown on several of his recordings for Joe Gibbs. Dean has worked and toured with the likes of Luciano, Sly & Robbie, Bob Marley, Tarrus Riley and a plethora of internationally acclaimed reggae artistes, while performing at sold out reggae concerts and events across the island, the Caribbean and the Diaspora. Today, after the advent of the digital age, Dean Fraser still maintains his relevance and was awarded the Musgrave Medal in 1993 by the Government of Jamaica in recognition of his contribution to music.
Indeed, Dean Fraser presents himself as the grand role model for aspiring saxophonists.
Though intrigued by Dean Fraser’s accomplishments, Malik credits his involvement with and love for the saxophone to Youtube famous Charlie Lamprecht who won over his heart just over two (2) years ago when he started to indulge in ‘sax’ videos online.
Malik’s great ambition seemingly dwarfs the unbelievable fact that he began playing just over two (2) years ago. The rural St. Mary community of Islington has been inspired and perhaps serenaded by the self-taught youngster’s talent and atypical engagement; so much so that Malik has been asked to perform at several functions and events. Though Malik has not yet racked up any accolades, he basks in the adoration of those close to him while firmly believing in his prospects of rising to prominence within the local saxophone arena by surmounting unimaginable musical barriers.
A life heavily guided by philosophical underpinnings and inspirational thoughts have been the fuel to Malik’s endeavours and aspirations; central of these figureheads is Nelson Mandela. Malik believes that through his actions, he will be able to “reinforce the pronouncement of Nelson Mandela in the mind of aspiring youths that everything is deemed impossible until it is done”. Adorned with passion and fire, Malik wants his spectators to know that living and achieving in life is more of a possibility than a probability and the key to this is self-belief and recognition while supporting conscious thoughts with conscious actions. Despite his upbeat persona, even Malik falls on hard times, emotionally. Whenever he finds himself down in the dumps, he draws on his persistent nature, fighting for what he wants until he gets it.
Though naturally gifted and interested in saxophone and music, Malik’s ultimate goal is to become an airline pilot. Soul Plane: The Sequel, perhaps?
When asked to offer a word of advice to Jamaican youths finding it hard to reach for the stars, Malik had this to say, “We all have dreams and ambitions. Conscious thoughts require conscious actions. While in Jamaica we have a lack of opportunities and a poor economy, investing in self is crucial. Read and educate yourself. Employ what you have read. Pray. Believe”.
Malik Clarke: A Classic Man
By: Andwayne Davis, JAYECAN Marketing & Evaluations Director