Guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the music business, recently opened his St Andrew home to visitors, reflecting on a storied career that has seen him record and tour with greats like Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, and Jimmy Cliff.
The meet-and-greet took place on February 25 at St Andrew Park, an intimate community off Molynes Road the veteran session musician has called home for over 25 years. Smith said the gesture is his way of reaching out to the community and fellow artistes he has worked with throughout his career.
Among the personalities at the event were Bunny Wailer, on whose Blackheart Man album Smith played in 1976; singer Mark Wonder, a member of Smith's Inna De Yard camp; harmony group Wadadah; music industry veteran Maxine Stowe and author/journalist Barbara Blake-Hannah.
Visitors viewed Smith's vintage instruments, gold and platinum album plaques and his Rastafarian lifestyle.
Smith, 62, kicked off activities for his golden anniversary in February which is celebrated as Reggae Month. He performed at the Dub Club in St Andrew and the Dennis Brown tribute show in downtown Kingston.
From Greenwich Farm in Kingston, Smith started his career with the Soul Syndicate Band which at the time included bassist George Fullwood, drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis and rhythm guitarist Tony Chin.
The band, guided by producer Winston “Niney” Holness, played on some of Brown's biggest hits such as Westbound Train and Cassandra. Smith also collaborated with Augustus Pablo on most of his albums including East Of The River Nile; played on Marley's Rastaman Vibration album; and Cliff's Grammy-winning album, Cliff Hanger.