Pan pioneer Neville Jules, who founded the Trinidad All Stars steel orchestra and invented the bass pan, died yesterday just three months short of his 93rd birthday.
News of his passing was announced on the band's Facebook page, acknowleging him as "the foundation upon which #allstars is built - because of him we can look forward to another 85 years."
Born May 21, 1927, in East Dry River, Port-of-Spain, was one of the most influential figures in the steelband movemen. He was a tamboo bamboo player before joining the band that eventually evolved into All Stars in the 1940s.
He is credited with tuning the first bass pan by using a caustic soda drum. He then combined two caustic drums to expand the range of the instrument.
Jules also started a tradition in All Stars where the steelband would hit the road on J'Ouvert morning playing a classical music selection witha calypso beat. Other bands soon followed suit and this activity became known as "The Bomb." For that reason, the annual J'Ouvert Bomb competition was named in his honour.
It was during his leadership of Trinidad All Stars, from the post -World War II period through the 1950s and 60s that Jules invented several of the instruments that are part of the modern steelband.
Jules migrated to New York in 1972 but continued to be actively involved in rhe steelband movement for many years.