Unless you were at the Hotel Athenaeum on September 20, 2013, this music will be new to you, and if you were in the audience that day, it might simply be a wistful memory. But here — thanks to the magic of the video camera, the forbearance of the musicians, and the grace of Nancy Hancock Griffith and Kathy Hancock — I can present to you a short set by a Marty Grosz band featuring the leader on guitar, vocal, banter, Frank Tate on string bass, Scott Robinson on reeds, and Duke Heitger, trumpet. I think this was the last year the weekend festival was held in upstate New York before moving to Cleveland, where it resided happily for another few years. I miss it terribly and know that others share my feelings.
But now, some vibrant music from a quartet of revelers — all four still happily with us. Intricate jammed counterpoint; irresistible rhythmic bounce; repertoire worth rediscovering . . . it could only be a Grosz small group, with echoes of Condon, Red McKenzie, Fats and others.
A small technological note: the first half of IT’S A SIN TO TELL A LIE wasn’t recorded: it’s possible I had to change the camera’s battery. But the second half is too good to ignore.
Marty and the Spots, thanks to Eddie Durham and others:
and a song I learned from a 1937 Dick Robertson record featuring Bobby Hackett:
and Sidney Bechet’s composition:
and, the second half:
Sharing these performances with you, I think this is why, since 1970, I brought audio recording equipment (cassette recorder, reel-to-reel tape deck, digital recorder) and now pounds of video equipment (Flip, Sony, Panasonic, Rode) wherever I could, to concerts and clubs and gigs. My goal? To make the evanescent become permanent, the players and the sounds immortal.
May your happiness increase!