Jaffe was taken straight from the airport in an open Jeep to Strawberry Hill, now part of Island Outpost but then a white, wooden colonial house. Arriving at the property's mountaintop perch, he looked down at the city of Kingston and saw what he said is still, 43 years later, "one of the most awe-inspiring sights I've ever seen."
What began as an eight-day vacation turned into a four-year residency in Jamaica and, Jaffe said, the beginning of a lifetime journey.
Bob Marley’s cousin, Hugh “Sledger” Peart, in front of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston. Photo Credit: Lee Jaffe
He and Marley soon moved into a two-story colonial great house in Kingston that Blackwell had obtained as an office for Island Records. Marley and Jaffe took up residence in bedrooms in the house, behind which was former slave quarters that served as a rehearsal studio. Today, that building houses Kingston's most-visited tourist attraction: the Bob Marley Museum.
Jaffe also was an occasional guest on the south side of Kingston, at Marley's family house while it was still under construction, even though it meant sleeping on the porch floor of the unfinished residence. It was a circumstance, Jaffe said, that helped inspire the Marley song "Talkin' Blues," with the opening lyrics, "Cold ground was my bed last night, and rock was my pillow, too."
Jaffe said that in addition to the museum, he recommended that visitors to Kingston check out the National Gallery of Jamaica and the Hope Botanical Gardens and Zoo, try Ashanti restaurant for Jamaican vegetarian/vegan food and sample the ice cream at Devon House Bakery.
"Having Bob as kind of a tour guide of the island was really exciting," Jaffe said. And sometimes, more than a bit dramatic. One night they "had been harassed by the police at a roadblock." The experience and, Jaffe said, his bluesy harmonica playing as they drove away, inspired a No. 1 local hit, "Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)."
Marley eventually built a house on the west side of the island, about 10 miles from Negril, in a secluded, rocky part of the coast. Jaffe visited him there, and although he eschews most of the developed tourist areas, he conceded that Negril, even after development, is "still beautiful, and there's a lot of music in Negril. That's a big plus."
Reggae musician Peter Tosh. Photo Credit: Lee Jaffe
He also recommended Blackwell's Island Outpost properties "for those who can afford it."
Jaffe lived in Spanish Town while he was producing "Legalize It" but said it doesn't really hold much appeal for tourists.
Although he has been to the island frequently, he believes that in one person's lifetime it would be impossible to know Jamaica completely.
"When I got there, it seemed like a microcosm of the world, and the music reflected its eclectic nature," he said. "It's physically huge, 100 miles long, 50 miles wide, with 7,000-foot-tall mountains running through it."
And there is music everywhere you go.