My Great Grandfather is Eric Deans

Coined as “The Maestro” by his fellow musicians, Eric Deans revolutionized the reggae sound by fusing American R&B with Caribbean Calypso. He is well known for being the central teacher at the Alpha School for Boys and for developing the first, all-female band in Jamaica. The Eric Deans Orchestra was a premier Jamaican big band during the 40’s and early 50’s. The line-up featured many musicians who have made an incredible impact on the development of Ska and Reggae music as a whole. The band’s Trombonist, Don Drummond, was rated by pianist George Shearing to be amongst the world’s top five trombone players, and main Guitarist, Earnest Ranglin, created the “scratching” style of guitar playing found in nearly all Ska music. The band dissassembled in the early 50’s and Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, and Roland Alphonso went on to form the Skatelites. Eric Deans contributed his life to teaching and molding less fortuante children into aspiring musicians and his contribution to Ska/Reggae music has never been forgotten.

All Girls Band

Eric & Cab Calloway

The Maestro on the Sax



  1. arnoud
    April 22, 2011 - Reply

    Great post! thanks for sharing your photographs and story of your great grandfather.
    what years did he teach at Alpha Boys School?

    thanks and best wishes

    • April 25, 2011

      Arnoud, I am not sure of the exact dates he was there until, but it would have had to been in the late 40’s through the early 50’s. Thanks so much for commenting and checking out the story. Bless! :)

  2. Ron Knight
    May 7, 2011 - Reply

    Hi,nice pics of the meastro Eric, I was Alpha 1949-1955,I was in the but I dont recall Eric was there at the time must have been before then,any way he used to have a regular spot at week ends at Bournmouth club in the 50’s Rico & I had an audition as trombonist in his band, Rico was succesful and I was’st,did Eric emigrated to Uk? I thought I saw him in Manchester England,in the 60’s one time,Bless up and keep well,Ron.

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