An example of the Ron Berridge Big Band Sound “My Favorite Things”
The talk had been spreading for months.
It was the mid nineteen sixties , and Ron Berridge, the former trumpet player for the Clarence Curvan Orchestra was forming a super group made up of some of the best musicians in the land.
Included were such music stalwarts as Roy Cape on alto saxophone, the late Simeon Cabellero who we knew as “Oxley” on trombone, the Berridge brothers on trumpets, and a quirky guitarist from south called Earl Lezama.
The rhythm was anchored by “Toby” Tobas on drums and master bassist Conrad Little.
Even the conga player, a popular south man called Terry Moore was an extremely skilled and versatile drummer.
And then there was the Billy Green, one of the Green brothers who were also founding members of the legendary Southern Marines Steel orchestra.
Billy was probably the best timbales player ever from Trinidad, and one of the two best to come out of Marabella,( the other being my friend and former band mate Wendell (Creeper) Reece, but I digress).
The night came for the band’s debut performance at the Naparima Club in San Fernando, and in the audience were musicians, music lovers, and musician wannabees(like myself) and plain old party people.
We all waited impatiently, and finally the signal was given and the band started to play.
The tune chosen for their introduction was called “Tuxedo Junction”, which was a number one hit from 1939 by the Glenn Miller orchestra.
No one danced; everyone listened intently as the band strutted its stuff.
The arrangement featured muted trumpets, a rarity in Trinidad music at that time, and we all stood spellbound.
Standing next to me, was the famous trumpet player Frank Joseph (no relation) who had been a member of the legendary Fitz Vaughn Bryan band.
I heard him mutter” It’s so good when musicians understand each other”
Finally the music was over, and we all applauded.
The BEST big band ever to come out of Trinidad had appeared on the scene.
Ron Berridge had indeed dropped his bomb.
As youths , I remember my friend Derek and I analyzing this arrangement of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The Lonely Goatherd” (From The Sound of Music) as we begun to appreciate the fine and unique arranger that was bandleader/trumpeter Mr. Ron Berridge !