Vin Gordon plays the trombone as is often referred to as “Don Drummond Junior.” Mr. Gordon played with the top historical bands The Soul Vendors, The Soul Brothers, and Tommy McCook and The Supersonics as well as The Skatalites. Mr. Gordon plays a King trombone with a 6 and one-half Vincent mouthpiece. He likes a silver trombone with a large silver bell (not brass). JJ Johnson also used to played a the same manufacturer’s product, a King trombone.
Under the supervision of Alpha Boy’s School band master Lennie Hibbert, Mr. Gordon played the “blow bass” tuba or the string bass. It was not until he left Alpha in 1964-5, that he took up the trombone, although he did sample the trombone the week before he left Alpha Boys School. The first time Mr. Gordon played the trombone, he had to adjust to the smaller mouthpiece of the trombone as the tuba mouthpiece is significantly larger. Fortunately the trombone was the same bass clef instrument like the “blow bass.” Mr. Gordon commented, “it’s very easy to leave from the blow bass to play the trombone. You get a rounder, better, sweeter sound because you read the music the same way. They are in the same clef, the bass clef. All I had to do was learn the positions and there I go!” Although Mr. Gordon described the transition as easy, he also states, “I had to practice hard! Very hard, hard, hard. I used to practice eight hours a day.” It was after this that Rolando Alphonso took Vin Gordon to Studio One. The nickname “Don Drummond Junior” was coined at Studio One.
From Bellevue Hospital, Don Drummond himself sent Mr. Gordon a message. A friend by the name of “Seedie” who worked at Randy’s Records on North Parade was a very good friend of Don Drummond. Seedie was very familiar with all of Don’s music and met up with Vin Gordon after Mr. Gordon left Alpha School. Seedie would travel with Mr. Gordon when he played in Franklin Town and surrounding areas. One day when Vin Gordon was dropping off some records at Randy’s, Seedie had a message to relay. Seedie had been on a recent visit to see Don Drummond at Bellevue Hospital on Windward Road and delivered the message from Don Drummond, “Tell him that he is good!” Gordon commented, “He (Seedie) could talk with Don Drummond very good, y’know.”
Vin Gordon recorded “Heavenless” at Studio One. Mr. Gordon describes the release, “I did ‘Heavenless’ as a little boy in Studio One and Coxsone Dodd say Don Drummond play it. He put it on his album. He told me that it’s a mistake he made.” The critical issue is that Don Drummond was committed to Bellevue Hospital a short time after the incident occurred on January 1, 1965. Heavenless has a Reggae beat and Reggae was first used in song titles in approximately February, 1968 (Daulke, “Regay To Reggay”, 1994). While at Studio One, Vin Gordon also composed and recorded the dancehall anthem “Real Rock.” “Real Rock” was first known as an instrumental. Gordon recorded this music at the age of 19 with Jackie Mittoo. Gordon wrote the melody and Jackie Mittoo wrote the remainder of the rhythm.
Mr. Gordon also recorded with Dave Madden, Glen DeCosta, on horn work for Bob Marley’s music. As a three-piece horn section, they recorded “Natty Dread,” “Rat Race,” “Natural Mystic,” “Guiltiness” and others. Vin Gordon was at Channel One when Sly Dunbar just started. Gordon recorded as a member of The Revolutionaries with hornsmen Tommy McCook and Herman Marquis. Gordon commented that Marquis’ alto sax helped to supply a unique “intonation” to the tracks produced.
Presently Vin Gordon is working on a new solo album. He is also composing “pain music” for ill people to medically treat their pain. There is also the 2012 album titled “In The Garden,” which is available for purchase from I-Tunes. Much of Mr. Gordon’s musical work is playing live. He often plays his signature songs, which are now considered hallmark Jamaican music. Mr. Gordon describes these live performances from his uniquely historical perspective: “As a featuring horns specialist, they put you there ‘an you playin’ the tunes when you was young. You play “Real Rock” ‘an dem song, but it’s not your songs. It’s not your album. At that time you was so young and you did it because you were in practice. You didn’t care about watching it. You didn’t know how great you was, so it didn’t matter. Now when you listen back, you say, ‘Oh my God, if I knew!’”