Born: March 3, 1927
Died: May 5, 1998
Thomas Matthew McCook was born of Jamaican parentage in Havana and in 1933 they returned to Jamaica. He developed his musical skills when attending the famed Alpha School for boys from the age of ten.
As leader of the Skatalites and also the group’s elder statesman, Tommy was a determinedly cool head within the group and a musician of immeasurable ability. During a career that spanned more than half a century, McCook brought his expertise in the field of jazz and knowledge of Latin rhythms and
melodies to provide greater variety to
the nascent forms of ska, rock steady and reggae and played on literally thousands of recording sessions throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
During his later years, Tommy lived in the United States at Atlanta, Georgia
and died there from heart failure on
May 5, 1998.