Brixton vocalist worked with everyone from Sir Coxsone to The Freestylers.
British MC Tenor Fly, born Jonathan Sutter, passed away on Friday, June 17. Details surrounding his death have not yet been made public but tributes began pouring in from collaborators, artists, and fans on Friday evening.
The Freestylers, who featured Tenor Fly on their 1998 debut album We Rock Hard, were among the first to share the news on Facebook with a statement: “there’s not much we can write right now as we’re absolutely devastated by the great loss of our long term friend and sparring partner the legendary #TenorFly. His music touched so many people around the world and it knew no boundaries. He was a Pioneer,a Showman and true Gentleman. It was a pleasure making music,touring and generally having fun with you. Your legacy will live on forever.”
Born in Brixton, south London, Sutter’s career began in the late ’80s with dub and dancehall releases on the Music of Life and Sir Coxsone labels, including 1989’s ‘Dancehall Clash’ with Daddy Freddy.
In the ’90s, Tenor Fly became known within Britain’s ragga scene and in turn its faster offshoot, ragga jungle, owing in part to his work alongside Congo Natty aka Rebel MC. In 2003, the pair released 12 years of Jungle, an album celebrating their contributions to the UK sound.
Tenor Fly’s second album was 2006’s Two Veterans alongside Top Cat, another British MC with whom Fly worked for most of his career. In 2005, Tenor Fly contributed vocals to the Freestylers and Pendulum collaboration, ‘Tarantula’.
Sutter had remained an active MC on the live circuit, performing with Congo Natty among others.
Artists including Channel One Sound System, The Bug, Wrongtom, and Grooverider have been paying homage to the late MC over the past day.
Just heard the news that tenor fly has passed . Im absolutely gutted .. A man i grew up with and who I've known over 35yrs ..rip my brother
— DJGROOVERIDER (@GROOVERIDERDJ) June 17, 2016
Think this was the first time I heard Tenor Fly, on Simon Harris' Music Of Life label https://t.co/b1UaoKIMFN
— wrongtom (@TheWrongtom) June 17, 2016