This month we focus on horn sections. Since Frieda’s Boss got one of its very own (Stanwah on trumpet and trombone, AB who plays a variety of saxophones and Train who will tell anyone that will listen that he blows his own tenor sax and
a borrowed alto from time to time) we’ve all started taking notice of horn
sections but the ones that really grab our attention are the ones that are so
raucous and enthusiastic that they can get a little rough around the edges.

So in honour of those horn sections that missed a note because the sun’s in their eyes, it’s late at night in Montego Bay or they’re just really old, CHO presents to you the top 3 that played wonderfully but almost ran out of puff.

3. 7 July, 1984 Aswad live at Crystal Palace.

The boys were playing beautifully in the heat of yet another ferocious English summer when suddenly, without hint or preview, with the dub section finish line within sight (4m:49s) the horn section fell apart with two members going for another round of the famous riff while the trombonist laid down his instrument, clearly having had enough much to the amusement of the sax and trumpet player who bailed mid-riff.

2. 1982 Blue Riddim live in Mo’ Bay

Having snared the coveted 5.12am spot at the Sunsplash, the intrepid band from America manfully held an unsteady course from a timing perspective before settling into a wonderful groove. But watch for the fatigued and possibly stoned horn section labour through the riff: all is well until the winded trumpet player has to sing at about 1m35s… and what about at 2m35s when he plays an abbreviated horn line and immediately flops forward at the waist on the verge of collapse. We like it!

1. 7 July 1984 The Skatalite at Crystal Palace

This veteran horn section has nothing to prove to CHO or anyone else. Legends. Having said that, watch as our grey haired tenor player has to give way to a younger alto player during the “three coins in the fountain” (1m30s) improv and again at 2m39s when he thought he could go the distance but alas... Love these guys though, still stands up almost 30 years on. Bo!