Honour for 'The Dancehall Master'

January 30, 2017
Chilando (left) and GT Taylor
Torches blaze at GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza 2011.
George 'GT' Taylor

On February 26, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) will recognise G.T. Taylor as a promoter for his Christmas Extravaganza, staged each Christmas Day in St Elizabeth.

Known as The Dancehall Master, Taylor told The STAR that he is "elated".

"It shows me that if you do good work and believe in what you are doing, it will be rewarded. Whatever project you take up, if you believe in it, it will be rewarded, not only by man but God," he added.

Taylor thanked his wife, Carla, who has stuck with him through rough times with Extravaganza, which marked its 16th staging in December.

He noted that his children, Kimberley and Malcolm, are now into organising Christmas Extravaganza.

He started out in the late 1960s as MC with the RHT Invincibles Band organised by Father Gooden, which also included outstanding musicians Sly Dunbar and Lloyd Parkes. He then went into acting, coached by Bim Lewis of the duo Bim and Bam.


Pushing entertainers


Dancehall came later, Taylor saying "I brought dancehall to IRIE FM." The show was 'In The Dancehall', a half-hour slot in the early 1990s starting midnight on Fridays, which he initially paid for.

"I used to go to dances where big sounds were playing and record them, then play them on radio to get a live dancehall scene. There was some negativity; people would say it could not work," he said. Not only did it work, but after about a month, Taylor was offered a job the radio station.

He takes credit for pushing entertainers such as Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw, Luciano and Elephant Man.

Later in the decade, he started G.T. Aggregation sound system to satisfy requests for live dates sparked by his radio show.

He still does MC duties, Reggae Sumfest among the major shows he co-hosts consistently. Taylor said he was one of the persons who was consulted when the event was being started in 1993, contributing especially to Dancehall Night.

Among the other 2017 awardees are Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, engineer Syl Gordon and singer Half Pint.

Posthumous awards will go to singer Alton Ellis and Winston 'Merritone' Blake of Merritone sound system, the oldest continuously active sound system in the world.

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