Fonda Theatre, LA. Photo credit – Jonathan Shanks
Guitar and Vocals
After Cymande, Patrick focused on song writing. He worked with the Black Theatre of Brixton and wrote music for and was the musical director of two musicals: Jericho in 1977 and Bunkers in 1982. Patrick’s next musical project was the beginning of a new Cymande project with Steve, Mike and Sam. In 1983 Patrick formed a new band, View From the Hill with Trevor White and Angela Wynter and with further assistance from Steve the band was initially signed to Survival Management and then with EMI/Capitol Records. View From the Hill became one of the premier Soul and R&B bands to come out of the UK recording three albums achieving both UK and US success.
In addition to his musical focus and pursuits Patrick studied throughout this period and was awarded a Master of Law degree and qualified as a Barrister in 1982. Patrick continues to practice successfully in several countries within the Caribbean region.
Bass and Vocals
After Cymande came off the road in 1975, Steve joined the premier South African band Jabula, a band formed by exiled South African musicians in London and involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, with a large and faithful following. Steve remained with Jabula throughout the latter half of the seventies and into the early eighties touring in Europe, Africa and the United States. In the late 1980’s, in addition to other pursuits he worked with Patrick establishing a new group, View From The Hill.
In the early 1980’s Steve pursued a legal career and was awarded a Bachelor of Laws Degree during this period; he qualified as a lawyer in 1988. Steve also pursued post graduate studies and was subsequently awarded a Master of Laws Degree. In addition to his musical focus and endeavours, Steve built a successful practice as a lawyer in the UK and the Caribbean, and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2006.
Together with Patrick, Steve began writing the tracks for the new album in 2010.
Mike ‘Bammi’ Rose
Tenor Sax and Flute
Mike is currently committed to other projects including the Jules Holland Orchestra but remains a long term member.
Mike has consistently maintained his musical pursuits. Like Steve, after Cymande, he joined the South African exiled band Jabula and remained a member of that band throughout the eighties. Jabula toured extensively in Europe, working with the African National Congress, S.A.C.T.U, together with the Anti-Apartheid Movements, raising awareness about the Struggle. Mike later performed with Jazz Jamaica.
For many years now he has been a member of Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, playing both tenor sax and flute, as well as participating with Sam Kelly and Pablo Gonsales in a project celebrating Cymande’s music.
Percussion and Vocals
After Cymande, Pablo immersed himself in the Rastafarian faith returning to Jamaica where he lived for many years focusing on the raising of his children and song writing.
While in Jamaica he participated in a number of music projects and worked with several Jamaican musicians. He later returned to the United Kingdom and slowly returned to the U.K. music scene including engaging in the revival and celebration of Cymande’s music in a project with Sam Kelly and Mike Rose with the Cymande All Stars and Cymande II.
Alto Sax and Percussion
Derrick Gibbs retired from active music performance after Cymande came off the road but remained emotionally a crucial part of the original core membership of Cymande, comprising himself, Patrick, Steve, Sam, Mike and Pablo. Derrick came out of retirement to be a part of the recording of the new album entitled “A Simple Act Of Faith” and has been touring with the band since September 2014.
Sam Kelly joined the London-based band “Sox” and later toured with Linda Lewis, Billy Ocean, Jimmy Lindsay, Desmond Dekker, Roger Chapman and the Shortlist, Kevin Coyne, Michelle Shocked and many others.
Much of Sam’s work following Cymande was as a freelance drummer. Over the years he has held the drum seat for many well-known names in soul, rock and R&B including Eddie Floyd, Dr. John, Chaka Khan, Zoot Money, Ben E. King, Eddie Floyd, Dorothy Moore, Chuck Farley, Root Jackson and Gary Moore. In addition he worked with Patrick Patterson, performing on early BBC Radio One sessions with “View from the Hill” and in the mid-1980’s he worked on another Cymande project with Patrick, Mike Rose and Steve Scipio. Sam has also embarked on theatre and film projects through the years.
Sam established his “Station House” band which remains a musical focus as well as his reggae outfit “FOWOKAN”. Sam was also part of the Cymande tribute projects, Cymande All Stars and Cymande II, alongside Mike Rose and Pablo Gonzales.
Adrian has worked as the Musical Director and Arranger on West End shows such as “Unforgettable”, a story about the life of Nat King Cole, and the hit musical “Five Guys Named Moe” based on the songs of American Saxophonist Louis Jordan. Adrian was also Musical Director of “Gumboots” and Assistant Musical Directorfor “Kat and the Kings”. Both musicals hailed from South Africa and were subsequent hits in the West End.
Adrian is a founder member of the Jazz Warriors Orchestra, an educational group formed to assist young jazz musicians.
He has recorded with Courtney Pine, Branford Marsalis, Mavis Staples, Billy Preston, Maxi Priest and Chante Moore. Adrian has worked live with Archie Shepp, Annie Ross, Chet Baker, Omar, Mica Paris and Paul Johnson.
Career highlights include the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert at Wembley Stadium with Gerry Dammers and the subsequent performance in the presence of President Nelson Mandela at the Vaudeville Theatre in “Kat and The Kings”.
Once described as one of the London jazz scene’s best-kept secrets, Ray Carless is a tenor soprano saxophonist who has been creating groovy, melodic music with the great and the good for four decades.
He was part of the original ‘Brit funk’ movement and a founding member of London’s best jazz funk outfit Incognito. He has also played with most of the other bands on the Brit Funk scene such as Hi-Tension, Central Line, Linx and Light of The World.
Ray scored a chart hit with his single Tarantula Walk before moving on to become a founding member of the Jazz Warriors, the all black Big Band that launched the careers of many such as Courtney Pine (OBE), Gary Crosby (MBE) of Jazz Jamaica, Roland Sutherland, Jason Yarde, Steve Williamson, Cleveland Watkiss, Julian Joseph and Orphy Robinson.
He has made creative contributions to and worked with local and International artists like Elvin Jones, Hugh Masakela, Billy Ocean, Loose Ends, ABC, Five Star, Tippa Irie, Will Downing, Jocelyn Brown, Skatalites, Big Youth, Bob Andy, Luciano, the late and greats John Holt, Alton Ellis, Gregory Isaacs, Jean Adebambo, Louisa Marks, and most recently Grammy smasher Adele.
Ray has also worked with artists including Black Roots, Beris Hammond, The Heptones, Aswad, Black Slate, Beggar & Co, Jazz Jamaica, The Skatallites, Delroy Pinnock, Lloyd Brown, Michael Gordon, Patrick Augustus’ Elements Band, Cleveland Watkiss, Janet Kay, Caroll Thompson, Beverley Skeet, Alan Weekes, Ska Cubano, The Heliocentrics, Mica Paris, Jennifer Phillips, Immani, Janet Kay, Chris Tummings & Victor Romero Evans, Heather Haywood, Joy Rose, Ava Golding, The Engine Room Collective, Rico Rodriguez, Skatallites trombonist Vin Gordon, Shireen Francis, Siemy Di, vibesman Orphy Robinson and Afrikan Revolution.
Ray was invited to join Cymande and has become an integral band member. He recently summed up his move from pure Jazz to multi-genre music: “These days I need lots of variety in my music and I know that I will always retain my strong jazzy flavour. I love my jazz but I’m happiest when I’m able to express myself utilizing the various African Caribbean flavours that I’ve grown up with.”
Ray Simpson is a British based recording artist (not to be confused with the American artist of the same name) who was inspired by the soulful sounds of Motown, Stax, Atlantic Records, Philadelphia International and others, which led him to follow his dreams and achieve a career as a musician.
Ray went on to develop a varied solo career as a vocalist, producer and songwriter, writing for himself and other popular artists such as Maxi Priest, Sugar Minott, Al Campbell and Barry Boom to name a few.
In 1984 Ray signed recording and publishing deals with Island Records and Blue Mountain Music, and started to actively explore soul and funk music. He collaborated with Jean Paul Maunick (Bluey), of Incognito, to record vocals on a project produced by Maunick and also toured with Incognito.
In 1989 Ray was signed by Circa Records and recorded his self-titled debut album ‘Ray Simpson’, produced by celebrated American producer Michael J Powell (whose production credits include work with Anita Baker, Randy Crawford among others).
Over the years Ray has worked with Will Downing, Jocelyn Brown, Loose Ends, Maysa Leak and Caron Wheeler and was a featured soloist with UK Funky Dread Band Soul II Soul on their album ‘Time For Change’ on which he penned the single, ‘Pleasuredome‘.
Ray’s connection with Cymande dates back to the origin of the band in the 70’s, when as a young schoolboy he would watch the band practice in their Brixton basement and thereafter follow their progress with great interest through the connection between his family and the family of Sam Kelly and Derrick Gibbs.
When Cymande formally reunited for the new album and tour venture in 2012, Ray was one of the band’s first prospective choices for the role of lead vocalist. At that time Ray’s commitments were such that he was not able to become part of the project. However, the unfortunate withdrawal of Trevor White from the Cymande project at the end of 2015 due to personal circumstances, coupled with Ray’s recent availability, created the opportunity for him to get on board for the US tour in June 2016.