Jamaica is known for traditional values, beautiful waters, famous artists and poets, and of course, Reggae music. While Bob Marley and the Wailers do hail from the “The Rock,” another artist that should be on the radar when discussing reggae music should also be Lennie Hibbert with his 1970 release, Creation. A Substantial release of feel-good musical tunes and an emphasis on creating a laid-back approach to sound, Creation is one of the best hidden gems that Jamaica has to offer.
Touching on major cornerstones of Jamaican music, Hibbert acts as simply an extension of the organs and vibraphones that make his records sound so incredibly consistent and well produced. It appears almost without effort that Hibbert creates a world of new sound and what appeared almost revolutionary at the time, has now deformed into a more modern style of using horns, strings, and slight, simple percussion to create the groundwork for his instrumentals. Hibbert’s sound is not unique, but the way that he organizes the progressions and manages the instruments is unique in their own right. Hearing his string sections and vibraphones being played together can instantly paint an image of a beach where the waves come gently, almost shuffling in; it can become a deep forest of lush greens and exotic wildlife. Through Hibbert’s musical ability and style, anything can be imagined and almost any tropical setting can be pictured along side. Creation is most simply put, lovely and has a touch of comfortable friendliness that never overstays the welcome and proceeds at a welcoming pace.
Even at moments where Creation begins to pick up and become more lively and exhilarating, it never becomes a sprint or a marathon of instrumentation. Instead, it adapts to these changes by making simpler rhythms and using a grander focus on creating sound rather than complexity. Hibbert continually adds layering to his tracks, but never do they feel overbearing or weighted, everything has a floating style around it and continues in the theme of being a gentle ocean breeze. The track that signs the brightest for these aspects is “Roselen,” it not only contains a wonderful arrangement of vibraphones and cymbals, but the bass lines and percussion truly sets “Roselen” to stand alone as a monument in music ability. The simplicity adds to the setting of “Roselen” and it truly does feel like a being caught in a gentle sea wave, or being placed during the most peaceful sunset on an exclusive island. Its solidarity works wonders for the track and makes Creation become a pleasant surprise with each incoming track.
Hibbert flew under the radar for American releases and his music is like finding a buried treasure. Creation is a record for the sun-filled days and the fire-lit nights; it begs for dancing, but can also be played to wind down an evening and take in everything nature will give you. From the creation to the deconstruction, Creation is a fantastic piece of cultural history and Jamaica has never seemed sweeter.