Defunct BLO Legendary Nigerian guitarist, Berkley Ike Jones dies at 71

Berkley Ike Jones, the iconic Nigerian guitarist of the disbanded BLO is dead.

Berkeley Ike Jones died weeks to his 72nd birthday.

He died in Asaba last night, 28 June, where he went for a job.

Ike first appeared on the Nigerian music scene in the mid-1960s, as a drummer in The Figures, a teen pop group based in Port Harcourt.

He signed on as lead guitarist in the rock n ‘soul band The Funkees in 1970, at the end of the Nigerian civil war, where his adventurous guitar lines got him noticed by talented scouts who instantly whisked him off to Lagos and installed him in the high profile rock band The Clusters.

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Under the leadership of Tee Mac Iseli, the Clusters quickly evolved into the Afro Collection, then into SALT under Ginger Baker. The group gradually splintered, giving birth to the first BLO – Berkley Ike Jones, Laolu Akins, and Mike Gbenga Odumosu Afro-rock power trio in Nigeria.

In the 70s and early 80s BLO was the rave. During the seventies the group was one of the most successful and influential rock groups in Nigeria.

They recorded some Afro-Rock songs like Preacher Man and Native doctor.

BLO released their first album under EMI label, Chapter One, a psychedelic rock record. The sales of the album did not meet the expectations of EMI and consequently the band left EMI to record their next album with an associate of Decca. The band released three more records between 1974 and 1976-Phase II, Step Three and Phase IV.

In the early 1980s, Jones left the music industry and reinvented himself as one of the country’s leading interior designers and architects, and ultimately as a commentator on current issues on Facebook.

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