The Skatalites ADD
RIP Lester 'Ska' Sterling - The Skatalites Founding Member Passed Away
REST IN POWER - LESTER 'SKA' STERLING aka MR. VERSATILE (January 31, 1936 - May 16, 2023)
Official statement by The Skatalites:
"LESTER SKA STERLING - The last remaining of the original Skatalites hornsmen.
It’s a sad day for all of us with the passing of our legendary founder and original saxophonist Lester “Ska” Sterling.
Our heart goes out to the family, the fans and to all who were very close to him. We celebrate his greatness and his contribution of being one of the pioneers of Ska and reggae music. He has left a legacy for now and future generations to follow and we will continue to preserve it stage by stage.
We honor him as a person and we honor him for his excellence.
Forever in our thoughts
Rest in love Lester Ska Sterling."
TRIBUTES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
David Alcapone: "R I P Lester Sterling. Very Sad indeed. Lester Sterling was the Last Remaning Member of the Greatest Ska Band The Skatalites. He was Sick for a long Time. I just just come off the phone with His Brother Keith Sterling and He Said that Lester was a Very strong man because He Survived Three Heart attacks one when He was Leaving the Hospital. Travel Good Great Saxophone Man. King Lester Sterling. Condolences to His Family And friends."
Hon. Olivia Grange: "Lester Sterling of the Skatalites has left us. Rest in peace Lester. Love and respect always."
Alpha Boys School Radio: "We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Lester Sterling OD, saxophonist, founding member of the pioneering music group, The Skatalites and a past Alpha boy.
The last surviving founding member of The Skatalites, Sterling's remarkable impact on Jamaican and world music is seen and heard in the joy people receive from playing, performing and hearing his music all over the world.
On behalf of the Alpha School of Music, our students and staff who have been fortunate enough to know him, perform with him and play the music that he created, we send heartfelt condolences to Mr Stering's family and friends that they may be comforted during this difficult time. His legacy lives on. Let us keep them in our prayers. God bless."
Ken Stewart (Keyboardist at The Skatalites Band):
"I am very sorry and sad to announce that Lester Sterling has passed on to the next venue. He has been very ill for the past year and his struggle is finally over. Deepest sympathies and condolences to all family, friends and fans. R.I.P."
The Wailers: "We come with heavy hearts today, as we say farewell to our bredren, the legendary Lester "Ska" Sterling. The saxophone master, who rode the riddims of ska and reggae, has journeyed on.
Lester was more than a musician, he was our brother, his spirit as uplifting as a roots reggae rhythm. As we feel the weight of this loss, we also give thanks for his life and the irie vibrations he brought to the music scene. Our thoughts go out to all his loved ones around the globe. Rest in Zion, Lester. Your music is the heartbeat that will always resonate within us."
Freedom Sounds Festival: "Rest in peace, Lester "Ska" Sterling. The last original member of The Skatalites has left us. Without you, there would be no Freedom Sounds Festival."
IN THE PRESS
The Skatalites’ Lester Sterling Has Died [Clashmusic.com]
"The Skatalites’ co-founder Lester Sterling has died. A true pioneer in Jamaican music, Lester Sterling was drawn to the saxophone during his time at the legendary Alpha Boys School – essentially a breeding ground for the first wave of what would become known as ska music."
Lester Sterling of Skatalites fame had died [Jamaica Gleaner]
"Lester Sterling, Jamaican saxophonist and founding member of the legendary band, The Skatalites, passed away on Tuesday in the United States, after ailing for some time. Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, made the announcement at the launch of Junior Reid’s One Blood concert at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel Tuesday evening. The minister informed the gathering that it was Sterling’s wish to be buried in the land of his birth."
The Skatalites’ Saxophonist Lester Sterling Dead At 87 [Dancehallmag.com]
"Tributes have been pouring in from far-flung corners of the earth, following the passing of alto saxophonist Lester Sterling, the last of three horns-men from the iconic Skatalites, the band which has the distinction of backing The Wailers’ first hit song Simmer Down."