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Biography

The late Nearlin 'Lynn' Taitt was born in San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago in 1934, and was a guitarist closely associated with Jamaican rocksteady of the late 60's before his death in 2010.

Before taking up the guitar, he got his start as a musician playing in local steel drum bands. He emigrated to Kingston, Jamaica as a teenager in the 1950s and in the 1960s began working with Jamaican musicians such as the Baba Brooks, the Skatalites and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. He formed his first combo, Lynn Taitt and the Comets, in 1964, but rose to greater prominence in 1966 after starting a second band, Lynn Taitt and the Jets. This latter group became the premier studio band of the rocksteady era. Taitt's guitar style was inventive and unconventional, with a sharp percussive sound that perfectly accented the rocksteady beat. Lynn Taitt and the Jets played on hundreds of recording sessions for Jamaican producers such as Bunny Lee, Duke Reid, Joe Gibbs, Coxsone Dodd, and he worked with virtually every major Jamaican artist of the time and countless lesser known singers as well.

Taitt's contribution to Jamaican popular music includes his often-overlooked role as arranger and session leader for many, if not most of the recordings that he appeared on. He has been credited as having created the first rocksteady bassline, on the song "Take It Easy" by Hopeton Lewis. Various other Jamaican recordings have been cited as the "first" rocksteady release such as Alton Ellis & the Flames' "Girl I've Got a Date", and the Derrick Morgan rude boy anthem "Toughter Than Tough". While no one can say for certain which rocksteady recording was actually the first, what these records have in common is that Lynn Taitt plays guitar on all of them.

Taitt's arrangements and guitar style dominated Jamaican music from the mid-60s until he emigrated to Canada in August 1968. Although he left Jamaica just before the rise of reggae, his playing was a strong influence on musicians such as Hux Brown who adapted Taitt's approach to the newer reggae style. Taitt's work can be heard on classic 60s recordings by Derrick Morgan, Desmond Dekker, Lee Perry, Ken Boothe, Bob Marley and Joe Higgs, among others. Lynn Taitt remains active as a musician in Montreal, Canada, and having played with such acts as "The Kingpins" ("Let's Go To Work" CD 1999) as well as live with the "Montreal Ska All Stars" and at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with "The Fabulous LoLo sings Rocksteady" (2006) and "Lynn Taitt and the Jets" (2002). Up until his death in January of 2010, he worked tirelessly recording new material in his studio.

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