Reynold Gillies known throughout the steelpan world as "Tony Slater" hailed from Port of Spain, Trinidad. He was born in 1944.
His emergence as a pan tuner began in 1965 after he gained an apprenticeship with Bertie Marshall who at this time was a tuner for the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra. Here he was able to develop his skills as a tuner as well as embarking on an era of innovation.
This period of apprenticeship was heightened as he also worked alongside the late Rudolph Charles who at the time was a tuner for the Desperadoes.
Slater became highly respected by other pan tuners, because of his understanding of working with metal, and being able to apply this scientific knowledge to enhance the development of steelpans.
This pursuit led to many pan tuners consulting and collaborating with him on developing tuning techniques and new designs for steelpans, many of which are still in worldwide use today.
Like so many pan tuners before, Slater set out on his voyage to promote the steelpan worldwide. He travelled across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States (USA), where he is known for his proficiency in tuning and blending steelpans.
In addition to tuning and making pans, Slater began to lecture on steelpan construction. For those who have been fortunate enough to attend his lectures, Slater's important advice is that the initial stages of making a pan, and the positioning of the notes should be done correctly, as these two factors will determine the efficiency of the final product.