Dean Ivanhoe Fraser is a Jamaican saxophonist who has contributed to hundreds of reggae recordings since the mid-1970s. He was awarded the Musgrave Medal by the Jamaican government in 1993 in recognition of his services to music.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Fraser started to play the clarinet at the age of 12. Around this time he met Ronald "Nambo" Robinson and Junior "Chico" Chinn at a youth club in Jones Town, West Kingston and the three boys would eventually form a brass section. Fraser took up the saxophone at the age of 15. The trio became the foremost horn section in Jamaica in the 1980s.
In 1977 he joined Lloyd Parks' We The People Band, backing Dennis Brown on several of his recordings for Joe Gibbs. Fraser's first album, 1978's Black Horn Man, was produced by Gibbs. This was followed in 1979 by Pure Horns and Double Dynamite, and in 1980 by Revolutionary Sounds for producer Donovan Germain. Fraser provided horns for Sly & Robbie in the 1980s, both on record and on tour.
Fraser appeared at the 1981 Reggae Sunsplash, performing an instrumental version of the recently deceased
Bob Marley's "Redemption Song", which led to the 1984 album Pumping Air on Island Records' Mango-label.
Fraser went on to record two albums of Marley covers, Dean Plays Bob and Dean Plays Bob volume II.
The digital era of reggae, defined by the use of computers and drum machines to create the backing track, did not affect his output since acoustic instruments such as the saxophone was still in demand. Fraser has released several more albums since and he is recognized as one of Jamaica's top musicians. He toured extensively with Luciano from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, as well as performing on and adding production to several of the singer's albums, including A New Day, Serious Times and Jah Is My Navigator. More recently, Fraser has been recording, producing and touring with singers Tarrus Riley and Duane Stephenson.
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