Longtime Big Sugar bassist Garry Lowe has died. The Canadian musician passed away early this morning following a private two-year battle with cancer. He was 65. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Lowe moved to Canada in 1976 when he was 22. He soon started playing with reggae legend Jackie Mittoo, and quickly became a respected and sought-after bassist in the city’s reggae scene, often playing with bands at the Bamboo Club on Queen. Lowe was a founding member of Culture Shock, one of Toronto’s most popular reggae bands. He made fast friends with Johnson, himself a bassist and huge reggae fan and in 1994, Lowe joined Big Sugar.
Lowe played with Big Sugar during their classic period and on many of their most notable albums, such as 1997’s Juno-nominated Hemi-Vision and 2001’s Brothers & Sisters, Are You Ready? Lowe was a featured player on nine of Big Sugar’s albums, from 1992’s self-titled release through 2003’s Hit & Run. When Big Sugar went on hiatus in 2003, Lowe formed the Truth and Rights Revue with fellow Big Sugar member Mojah, a band that played together for a short time and released one album. Among his final performances, Lowe played alongside his friends in Big Sugar and Alex Lifeson of Rush at the Danforth Music Hall in December.
In the wake of Lowe’s passing, Big Sugar leader Gordie Johnson shared the following statement:
“We lost our dear brother and sweet friend Garry this morning. He was my greatest musical collaborator, our wisest elder. We were blessed to be on life’s journey together. We were blessed to know him and share his music. Please remember Garry Lowe in all your thoughts and prayers. Rally round the Lion.”