Rasta Royalty: Phil Chen Receives Jamaica's Order of Distinction

Veteran bassist joins the ranks of previous recipients Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Ernest Ranglin.
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Veteran bassist Phil Chen, best known for his seminal sides with Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Pete Townshend, the Doors, and Eddie Van Halen, received the prestigious Order of Distinction for his contributions to Jamaican music, at the King’s House in his native Jamaica, on October 20.

Reached about the award back home in Los Angeles, Phil offered, “I’m deeply honored to join the ranks of previous OD recipients Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Ernest Ranglin, all of whom I’ve been fortunate to play with, and who shaped and inspired me in my career Stateside. My heartfelt thanks to the Prime Minister, the Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, and the people of Jamaica for believing in me. I am proud to be Jamaican. One love rasta!”



Jerry Jemmott with the Gregg Allman Band

ASKED TO DESCRIBE THE ARRIVAL of veteran session legend Jerry Jemmott in his band, Gregg Allman said, “It was like Jerry coming down from heaven.” Actually, it was a completed circle of sorts, as Jemmott recorded regularly with late guitar god Duane Allman before he formed the Allman Brothers. Credit Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge and radio DJ Jack Devaney for suggesting Jemmott (BP’s 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) in 2006. Two weeks after they had him sit in at an Allman Brothers concert, Gregg called Jerry to invite him into his group. Now in his fifth year of touring with the 7-piece unit, the recently-married Jemmott has settled into a new home outside of Jackson, Mississippi, thoroughly enjoying what he calls a life and career rebirth.