Dean Fraser, born Dean Ivanhoe Fraser, Kingston, Jamaica c.1955, started to play the clarinet at the age of 12. Around this time he met Ronald ‘Nambo’ Robinson and Junior ‘Chico’ Chinn at a youthclub in Jonestown and the three boys would eventually form a brass section. Fraser took up 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 which is 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 were still in demand. Fraser has released several more albums since and he is recognized as one of Jamaica’s top musicians. He is Uncle to Hip Hop Mc Reggiimental.
He was awarded the Musgrave Medal by the Jamaican government in 1993 in recognition of his services to music.