Marty Grosz

Marty Grosz, today’s most prominent jazz rhythm guitarist and chord soloist, is Marty Grosz. He is the only major jazz guitarist to not use an amp. He is either the last proponent of jazz’s acoustic guitar style or the only harbinger for a new nonelectric movement. Marty also sings. His voice has been as popular at jazz concerts and record sessions as his driving rhythm guitar. These vocals can be delivered in a variety of styles, from barrelhouse abandon and whispered restraint. They can also be raucous or mischievous but are almost always delivered with a sense of humor. Marty Grosz, one of jazz’s greatest comedians, is an acoustic guitar player whose chordal solos recall Dick McDonough and Carl Kress. His vocals are a tribute to the Fats Waller tradition. Martin O. Grosz was a Berliner, Germany native on February 28, 1930. Since the age three, he has lived in the USA. He started playing the ukulele when he was eight years old. He heard a record that featured guitarist Bernard Addison’s shuffle beat behind Roy Eldridge’s trumpet. A few years later, he was introduced to the banjo/guitar. Marty was born in New York and attended Columbia University. In 1950, Marty recorded his first album with a band featuring the young pianist Dick Wellstood and Pops Foster, a veteran New Orleans bassist. Marty settled in Chicago for nearly 20 years. He played with jazz legends such as Floyd O’Brien and Jim Lannigan. Marty also recorded with Art Hodes and Dave Remington in the 1950s. In 1957 and 1959, he led his own sessions for Riverside and Audio Fidelity. He tried to persuade Jabbo Smith to retire. Some of their rehearsals were later published on LP but he was not well-known until he joined Soprano Summit (1975-1979). Marty was able to return to New York to join Bob Wilber’s and Kenny Davern’s Soprano Summit in 1975. The next round of touring and recording was with Soprano summit; Dick Wellstood’s Friends of Fats, Yank Lawson, and Bob Haggart. Also, the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra under Dick Hyman (an orchestra that Grosz performed at the White House) followed. Grosz was a charter member in 1986 of The Classic Jazz Quartet along with Joe Muranyi and Dick Wellstood. He also headed the Orphan Newsboys which included Greg Cohen, Greg Cohen, and Bobby Gordon. Marty Grosz is a remarkable personality who has recorded many delightful sets for Jazzology, Stomp Off. Marty Grosz wrote the majority of the arrangements and played with the group. He has performed at concerts featuring Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, and others. He loves playing guitar duets, and often plays in a duet with a violinist/saxophonist. Marty, the son of George Grosz, a German Expressionist artist, wrote his fond recollections in George Grosz The Berlin Years in 1986. Marty and Peter, his older brother, were forced to sue Serge Sabarsky, the author of the article. Serge Sabarsky was once a dealer in George Grosz’s art. He died shortly after returning from Berlin in 1959. Marty was a featured single and made guest appearances on Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, Fresh Air with Terry Gross and NBC’s Today Show. He was featured at Carnegie Hall’s Cool Jazz Festivals, and more recently at New York City’s prestigious 92nd St. Y concert and at the Vineyard Theater. Marty and his wife enjoy spending afternoons on their Piermont patio with vodka in hand and watching Hudson pass by. from

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