I’m trying to locate Keith “Bumps” Jackson and hoping today’s post will help someone to point me in the right direction. He was a bassist who performed with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires before relocating to the U.S. to found his own group, Bumps Jackson & the Caps. Below is an article that ran in the Daily Gleaner, June 23, 1969.
Bumps Jackson . . . Arranger, composer, guitarist and band leader
“Music is a mind-soother; it’s one of the ways In -which an individual can express himself” says ‘Bumps’ Jackson, tenor guitarist and leader of the Caribbean No. 1 band, BYRON LEE AND THE DRAGONAIRES. Born in Kingston on December 1, 1946. Keith Jackson later nick-named “Bumps’ attended Central Branch Primary and Excelsior School. He was graduated in 1965. From an early age Bumps had a flare for music and during his spare time especially during summer holidays, be com posed songs. It was in 1964 that he was first exposed to a musical instrument — practicing the bass-guitar with the Tytans band. After several months of thorough rehearsals, Bumps gained confidence and when the band’s bass-guitarist left he took over the role. He was associated with Tie and the Tytans for a year, after which he joined the Virtues.
Until late 1965, Bumps had only short engagements with most of the Island’s leading bands. He felt that those he had been around with did not really have anything to suit him. He tried free-lancing and in this way became associated with Byron Lee in Christmas of 1965. Bumps Jackson recalls that one night he was listening to the Dragonaires at the Club Sombrero, when Byron Lee approached him and asked: “How come a good bass player like you is not working?” Bumps said he told Byron that he was not interested in being confined to one band.
Byron Lee had to travel quite often to the United States and Canada on band business so he arranged with Bumps to take his place whenever he was not available. Bumps then became associated with the Dragonaires. After four months he was introduced to the six-string tenor guitar and took the bandstand as a second guitarist when Byron was able to play the bass. During that time Bumps created a name for himself and to many music fans he was regarded as one of Jamaica’s leading bass and tenor-guitarist. In the Dragonaires Ken Lazarus was the No. 1 tenor guitarist and leader in the latter part of last year. Lazarus left the group and Bumps took over as deputy band leader.
Bumps’ greatest moment came in January of this year when he was appointed leader and his first assignment was a Sunday night at the Club Maracas, Ocho Rios. “It was a fantastic experience for me and one I’ll never forget” he recalls. “I kept calm and observant and the other boys gave me confidence as the night went by,” he told me. Bumps says: “Most people feel that being a band leader is an easy job, but it is certainly one of the most difficult.” One has to develop a good working relationship with the members and Bumps says this the Dragonaires have achieved. As a member of the band, Bumps has travelled to New York. Boston, New Jersey, Connecticut and Lake George in the United States and to Toronto and Montreal in Canada. The band’s recent tour to Belize, British Honduras came in for high praises and was described as one of the best tours. Bumps is the band’s arranger and composer and his work includes Keith Lyn’s latest hit “Having a hard time.” He has been featured also in several recordings with the bass guitarist from Ska to Rock Steady and Reggae. “The Dragonaires are sounding magnificent,” says the leader, “and all I am interested is to keep it on a standard second to none in Jamaica and to maintain our place at the top in the Caribbean.” —J.S