Sunday September 16, 2018
Marty Grosz & Chicago Friends
Andy Schumm, Dave Bock, John Otto,
Mike Walbridge, Paul Asaro
Marty Grosz is widely recognized as today's foremost jazz rhythm guitarist and chord soloist. Marty is an outspoken proponent of acoustic guitar—and a rare player who doesn't have to stop if the lights go out. He is virtually the only major jazz guitarist who doesn’t use an amplifier. This makes him either the last remaining proponent of the acoustic guitar tradition in jazz or the lone harbinger of a new non-electric movement.
Marty sings, too. They are delivered in styles ranging from barrelhouse abandon to whispered restraint, and are sometimes raucous or mischievous, but almost always with a wry sense of the absurd. His spontaneous monologs are often hilarious; His vocals are in the Fats Waller tradition.
Martin O. Grosz was born in Berlin, Germany on February 28, 1930. He has been a resident of the USA since the age of three and began playing ukulele at the age of eight. A few years later he heard a record that highlighted guitarist Bernard Addison’s shuffle-beat behind Roy Eldridge’s trumpet. Out went the uke and in came the banjo and guitar.
While growing up in New York, Marty attended Columbia University and in 1950, recorded his first record with a band that included the young pianist, Dick Wellstood and the veteran New Orleans bassist, Pops Foster. Settled in Chicago for nearly 20 years, he played with many of Chicago’s jazz stars such as Albert Ammons, Floyd O’Brien, Art Hodes and Jim Lannigan and he recorded with Dave Remington, Art Hodes, and Albert Nicholas in the 1950s.
It was in 1959 with Marty Grosz, Nappy Trottier, Albert Nicholas and Art Hodes that Mike Walbridge made his first recording. It was done by the Chicago Delmark label. Mike has continued his association with Marty by putting together the “Chicago Friends” for this concert.
Marty returned to New York in 1975 to join Bob Wilber and Kenny Davern’s Soprano Summit. He then toured and recorded with Dick Wellstood’s Friends of Fats, Yank Lawson and Bob Haggart and the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra directed by Dick Hyman. Later he headed the Orphan Newsboys, a superb quartet that included Peter Ecklund, Bobby Gordon and Bassist Greg Cohen.
Marty has appeared at guitar concerts with such players as Joe Pass, Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd. He enjoys playing guitar duets and often works in a duet context with a violinist or saxophonist.