Producer and label operator Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, one of the great architects of reggae music, died of a heart attack yesterday (May 4) at his studio in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 72.

Producer and label operator Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, one of the great architects of reggae music, died of a heart attack yesterday (May 4) at his studio in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 72.

A jazz fan, Dodd originally was a DJ who operated one of Kingston's first popular sound systems, Coxsone Downbeat. He began recording R&B-styled material by homegrown talent in 1959, and worked with virtually every significant Jamaican performer of the '60s and '70s.

Working with producer Lee Perry, Dodd began documenting the pre-reggae ska sound on his Studio One label in 1963. In the early '60s, the Skatalites, ska's most important instrumental group, was his house band. Singers Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe and Owen Gray and keyboardist Jackie Mittoo were the most influential performers in Dodd's stable.

Dodd's major early discovery was the Wailers. The trio of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston recorded such early "rude boy" ska hits as "Simmer Down" at Dodd's Brentford Road studio.

As ska evolved into rocksteady, Dodd recorded major dance hits by Alton Ellis, Slim Smith, Marcia Griffiths and vocal trio the Heptones. As the roots reggae sound developed in the late '60s and early '70s, these artists were joined at Studio One by Horace Andy, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, John Holt and the Wailing Souls.

During the '70s and '80s, Dodd released his studio's spare rhythm tracks in a series of instrumental albums that helped define Jamaican dub. He also cut early dancehall reggae hits by Willie Williams, the Lone Ranger and Michigan & Smiley.

In the mid-'80s, Dodd moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he ran a record store, Coxsone's Music City. His classic Studio One recordings were extensively reissued by Rounder's reggae imprint Heartbeat Records.

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