By Clayton Goodwin
Errol Jones is a living example of the integral, and unifying relationship, between Jamaican music and the community in which it has developed – particularly in South London. He came to the attention of Caribcommx first for his work with Leopard Music half-a-century and more ago. It was a time of fervent activity which is overlooked too often in the written records. Here the stars of the next decades obtained their basic training and experience. One of Errol’s associations was with Eric Clarke and the Debonairs (later known as the E.G. Embarkers), an influential big band, as well as with individual artists and groups. Years later one musician of the neighbourhood described Mr Jones’ standing with his contemporaries as being comparable to that of his name-sake Quincy Jones on the wider stage.
Born in St Thomas, Jamaica, Errol developed an early interest in song-writing, from which he went on to become involved in the music business, primarily behind the scenes in record production, promotion and administration. He continues to research, develop and showcase talent, specialising in small-label Indie and Dance cultures. We can testify personally to his generosity. When she was still a schoolgirl our daughter Elaine wished to learn record production but could not find anybody locally to help her (in Kent). Errol, however, gave up some of his Saturday hours to teach her free of charge. It is an experience which stood Elaine in good stead for her early career in television production. For Errol’s students the practice of learning locally in the studio he built at his house in the Stockwell Park Estate in Brixton, where the music is intrinsic to daily life, was particularly relevant. Mr Jones’ regular involvement in his community has been overtaken by a personal tragedy which has deepened his commitment.
Errol has long sought to empower and educate young people in Lambeth borough, but the death of his grandson Dwayne Simpson, through knife crime, emphasised the relevance and urgency of working with the community even more poignantly. Consequently, he has teamed up with Brixton police, especially as a memorial and legacy to Dwayne, in bringing boxing awards to the troubled youth affected by violence among their contemporaries and, perhaps, unsettled relationships with their families and the police. His association with the project involves registration, administration and monitoring through which he has become a senior father-figure to the young and gained the trust of their families.
Errol told us about his countless visits on behalf of the community to City Hall, the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and New Scotland. He added that he hoped that his own example would provide a beacon of light to encourage volunteers to feel valued and appreciated. In spite of being of retirement age Mr Jones tries to contribute to the cement which brings the community together in harmony and positive action. He has been encouraged by the manner in which community relations and local police co-operation has improved by leaps and bounds since the establishment of the Lambeth Boxing Awards in the wake of horrific loss through knife crime.
Please call Errol on +44
(0) 7986 532 875