Marty Grosz, photograph by Lynn Redmile.
Martin Oliver Grosz celebates his 93rd birthday today. He abhors sentimentality, and he doesn’t read blogposts, so all I will say is “Thanks for sticking around, Marty.”
But for those who wish to celebrate Marty by marveling at him in action, here is an eighty-minute concert he and cornetist Tom Pletcher gave at the Canadian Collectors’ Congress in April 2007. (More about the CCC below.)
Video created and produced by Robert Gibbons.
Marty Grosz, guitar and vocal and badinage; Tom Pletcher, cornet. Introduction by Colin J. Bray.
ALL GOD’S CHILLUN GOT RHYTHM (with Marty’s patented “Porto-San” refrain) / TAKE ME TO THE LAND OF JAZZ / I’M BUILDING UP TO AN AWFUL LETDOWN / UP JUMPED YOU WITH LOVE – KEEP A SONG IN YOUR SOUL.
Duets: I WOULD DO MOST ANYTHING FOR YOU / EMALINE / SQUEEZE ME / FROM MONDAY ON.
Marty talks about Roger Wolfe Kahn and Red McKenzie: THERE’S A SMALL HOTEL / HOW CAN YOU FACE ME? / JUST A GIGOLO / IF WE NEVER MEET AGAIN – SWING THAT MUSIC /
The Lost Earring and Surrender of the Badges:
In one of my eBay peregrinations last year, I found this DVD offered for sale. I had never seen nor heard of it, so I sprang to obtain it, and can share it with you. The disc has a slight technical detail: it froze in the middle of Marty’s solo version of a Carl Kress piece, which I have edited out.
I knew nothing of the Canadian Collectors’ Conference, so I contacted Colin Bray and Christopher Ian Ferreira for their thoughts.
Colin: The CCC was described as ‘A conference specifically planned for record collectors and discographers/researchers interested in ragtime, vintage jazz, blues, gospel, hot dance music, and Canadiana.’
It was originally held at collectors’ homes but then it got too popular and had to move to a hotel conference room where some attendees would stay. Welcome evening was on the Friday and the main event on Saturday. In the morning was short presentation of 10-15 minutes on discographical stuff or new information and all sorts of things. In the afternoon we had three one hour presentations which may have been on a band, musician, record label etc.
Many times we had visiting musicians from the classic era. Marty Grosz, Tom Pletcher, Spiegle Wilcox, Lou Hooper (before my times) come to mind. We had John R.T. Davies over from the UK – the 78 record restorer wizard and musician. Rainer Lotz from Germany, Alex Van Der Tuuk from Holland – the expert on Paramount records, Larry Gushee on the Creole Band, Ate Van Delden from Holland on Adrian Rollini, Mark Berresford twice, once to talk on Ted Lewis and then Wilbur Sweatman. Sometimes on the Saturday evening we had jazz films – Joe Showler in Toronto was a major jazz film collector and THE expert on Jack Teagarden – I assume you have seen the incredible documentary he made on him?
And sometimes we had a live band, hence Tom Pletcher, Marty Grosz and Spiegle Wilcox performing. We had another get together on the Sunday, played more records and generally had a good time.
We stopped about 5 years ago because our numbers were dropping fast and it would have made it too expensive to make it work. Plus we were running out of experts to bring in to give presentations. And it took a lot of work and organising and after Gene Miller passed away, the two people left – myself and Chris Ferreira found it hard to keep going without his enthusiasm. John Wilby was another who helped organise it but stepped down a few years back. But we miss it!
Christopher: It was wonderful to be there to witness Marty and Tom play together. Unique performance I believe. 46 years of yearly fellowship, research, discography, music, good food and drink- etc. Bob produced a number of other interesting films. Including the wonderful full length Jack Teagarden documentary. Produced by him, Joe Showler and Steve LaVere.
Good people: not only collecting records and talking about them, but sharing live irreplaceable music.
Happy birthday, Martin Oliver Grosz. And thank you so much (also to Colin and Christopher and Robert Gibbons and the CCC).
May your happiness increase!
Once again you bring great joy as we celebrate the gift of Marty Grosz. We share positive thoughts and wonderful memories of the man, the musician, the entertainer and custodian of our culture.
Andrew J. Sordoni, III
45 Owen Street
Forty Fort, PA 18704