True to form, Carlos Malcolm’s “Christmas in the Caribbean” keeps the promise of quality and originality. A composer, arranger, producer and musical educator, Carlos Malcolm is often referred to as the “Quincy Jones of Jamaican music”. He was the first arranger to present traditional Christmas carols in the Reggae Music format. Over the past four decades Carlos has operated in a wide spectrum of commercial and light classical music. In the “Christmas in the Caribbean” CD he addresses traditional carols and original compositions representing three genres of Jamaican music – Ska, Reggae and Jamaican Dancehall music.
The CD opens with Carlos’ jazzy Jamaican dancehall-style arrangement of Mel’ Torme’s Christmas song with Shari Aston (a protégé of Carlos) on vocals. Happy Holidays and It’s Christmastime, the second and third tracks are originals of Carlos written as commercials for a toy store and a shopping mall in California.. He wrote three originals on the CD. The third Give Me Love, on track eleven is a reggae arrangement and speaks of an Age of Love and God. Christmas in the Caribbean is very different from the Christmas experience in the snow. Imagine a bright sun, blue-green seas, white sands and comfortably cool breezes, in the month of December. And let’s not forget the little sips of rum punch you’ll take while intoxicating reggae rhythms keep your head bobbing and your big toes wiggling in your sandals to the rhythms. The other popular Christmas songs and traditional carols on the CD are treated with that special bounce and joy that Jamaican Ska and Reggae music brings to a listener.
In the world of Reggae Music the Carlos Malcolm is known as a grandfather of Ska music and the facilitator of Reggae music to the world stage. Carlos’ Jamaican father, Wilfred Malcolm, was employed as a bookkeeper by the Panama Canal Company and eventually became part-owner of a large bakery which supplied baked goods to the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Panama. As most Jamaicans do, Carlos’ father sent his five children back to Jamaica to be educated. As a young man growing up in Jamaica and Panama, Carlos was exposed to a diversity of modern Jazz and Afro-Cuban music in Panama. As a young musician he was also active witness as Jamaican music producers tried to duplicate the New Orleans and Shuffle rhythms which eventually and blended with Jamaican Mento Music. Carlos’ father had studied liturgical music and was director of a church choir. His father was also trombonist/bandleader, played a mean Dixieland trombone. He taught his son to play the trombone and gave Carlos his first lessons in harmony..
Carlos’ father had an extensive collection of eclectic music including the music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky, Paul Robeson, George Gershwin and the big bands of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Count Basie wafted through the house every day. Carlos holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was among a cadre of creative writers, producers and musicians employed by the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC). Their purpose was to create programs, which would showcase Jamaican talent, in preparation for the Independence Celebrations. Carlos helped to create the Jamaican Hit Parade, a radio TV program, which was based on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, with a view to ferreting out Jamaican talent in the performing arts and providing a showplace for talented artists to develop professionally.
As head arranger/director in the Variety Department of the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation in Kingston, Jamaica, Carlos Malcolm was one of the creators of the popular Jamaican Hit Parade and the first arranger to write formal arrangements of Jamaica Ska music. He penned arrangements for the JBC Studio Orchestra so that artists could perform live on the weekly live Jamaican Hit Parade. Many of the early Ska musical arrangements for singers were “head arrangements” improvised by the accompanying musicians “at the mic”.
The popular Jamaican Hit Parade program spawned and influenced the careers of many Jamaican artists such as Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley, who became international Jamaican music icons. While at JBC, Carlos was commissioned by the Jamaica Little Theatre Movement to compose and arrange music for two full-length musicals, “Banana Boy” and “Jamaica Way”. In 1961 Eon Productions of London went to Jamaica to film the first movie of its James Bond series – “Dr. No.” The producers were keen on using Jamaican talent and music to capture the ambience of the island. Carlos Malcolm was commissioned to compose, arrange and record original, tropical background music for the movie.
Carlos Malcolm was also appointed Musical Director of Jamaica National Dance Theater and composed and arranged music for the debut performance of the Internationally famous dance company at the Inaugural Independence Celebrations of Jamaica. His production company, CAM Music Producers and Publishers has produced commercial jingles for U.S. companies operating in the Caribbean such as Shell Oil, Texaco, Maxwell House Coffee, Vick’s Vapor Rub and many Jamaica companies.
Over many years in Jamaica and the United States Carlos has coached singers and worked as Artist and Recording manager for record companies. He has also coached
vocalists and delivered lectures on the genre of World Music.
In 1996 Carlos was inducted into the Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival Hall of Fame along with legenday jazz sax-man, James Moody. In 1999, Carlos was inducted into the Artist in Residence program sponsored by the Arts Council of the State of California. He collaborated with a Child and Adolescent Coordinator for the Youth and Community Services of the San Diego Teen Recovery Center to re-direct youth by using music to teach the elements of Critical Thinking to encourage them to improve their choices. Sponsored by the Lemon Grove Project, in Lemon Grove, and the California Arts Council, the joint academic remedial program of Carlos Malcolm and Anthony Ackee called “Music?Yes!/The Age of Reason” was utilized by the San Diego Youth Community Services, The Balboa Academy of Arts and Sciences Community Day School, the Juvenile Court & Community Schools/ San Diego County Office of Education, the Children Youth and Family Services Network and the Palm Middle School, Lemon Grove (After school)
In August 2000, the Government of Jamaica flew Carlos and his orchestra home to play for the 37th Independence Celebrations of Jamaica. Carlos was presented with the Primed Minister's Award for both his excellence in music and for his contributions to the development and enhancement of Jamaican music, internationally.
Two years later, Carlos was again invited by the Government of Jamaica to participate as guest conductor in Jamaica’s 40th Year of Independence Celebrations, held at Jamaica House in Kingston, Jamaica. He rehearsed and conducted a 30-piece orchestra, specifically assembled for the occasion. In 2001, Carlos also began to write the story of his personal experiences and musical contributions to the various Jamaican genres, of which there is very little documentation. Carlos has dubbed the period of 1958-1965 as a period of “accelerated metamorphosis” in the history of Jamaican music. It was one in which Jamaican [folk] Mento music was “urbanized” by a fusion to the New Orleans Blues Shuffle Rhythm to produce Jamaican Ska music, the precursor of internationally accepted Reggae music.
In 2003 Carlos expanded his learning program and re-named it Back1bay6 – With a Musical Twist”. He was interviewed by Florida Today and the article published on the Internet. The article brought inquiries from educationists in several countries, including Canada, Jamaica and Australia. Carlos was invited to Australia in 2006 to deliver a lecture at Victoria University of Melbourne on “Bak2bay6 – With a Musical Twist” to a group of academicians from various cities and also to conduct a lecture/demonstration on the “History and Origins of Reggae Music” Australian National Public Radio. Both events were very successful. In a three-hour concert at the Prince Albert Ballroom, sponsored by Carlos conducted the 27-piece Melbourne Ska Orchestra as he spoke and demonstrated how Jamaican music “urbanized” from Mento (folk music) to Reggae music, popularized by Bob Marley.
Carlos was invited back to Melbourne to demonstrate the program to the Australian Adult Literacy Symposium.
Carlos presently lives in Palm Bay, Florida, where he dedicates his time to creating childhood educational programs, taught through music, and playing concerts with his 10-piece band, Carlos Malcolm and his Caribbean Rhythms.
Carlos now dedicates much of his time to the developing of other academic programs in Early Education and remedial Adult Education, using music as the agent to deliver
Several of his albums have been re-mastered on CDs for presentation of CD Baby.