man with the scythe really is going round taking so many names at the
Very sad - Mart will be sorely
missed; he did so much for our music.
14/03/19 - Dear Fred,
Louis telephoned lunch timed with the very sad news, which we also saw
on your site.
We met Mart when we were filming our first documentary and he was such a
nice man. He took great care with his programme the evening we filmed so
that the band played a selection of songs we may have not heard before.
It was most thoughtful of him. Although we didn't know him very well, he
was a lovely person, and did quite a bit of work for local charities. He
will be sadly missed. Our deepest condolences to his wife Janet and
Jenny & Ray Knight
That is sad
news indeed. Mart was certainly a stalwart of the NW Jazz scene and
(Webmaster Savannah Jazz Band)
Thanks for letting us know,
Fred. What a shock.
Very sorry to
hear the news.
news, have known Mart since 1960.
Sincere sympathy to Janet and of course his band members.
devastating news. When we were playing together in High Lane the
Thursday before last, Mart’s hip was giving him severe pain, and he
remained seated, but his clarinet-playing was as immaculate as ever, and
it never occurred to me for a moment that this might be the last time.
My first encounter with Mart was a very friendly telephone conversation
in the late eighties as he sounded me out about joining his band for a
Caribbean cruise. I was unable to do so as it was a term-time tour, and
I was a full-time teacher, but I always felt that this had been a missed
opportunity, and when that well-remembered voice telephoned me again
some twenty-four years later I was there like a shot. Retired by now and
master of my own diary, I could take virtually any dep. work he had to
offer, and five years ago I was proud to become his regular bassist.
Needless to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride. As a bandleader,
Mart was a true professional who really respected the musicians in his
band. He had high expectations of us and was always firm when he needed
to be, but he was unfailingly kind and generous. As a front man he had a
charisma that was all his own – a deadpan, self-deprecating manner that
never failed to make me laugh, and I was behind him! I don’t know how
often I heard him explain, slowly and gravely, that we couldn’t play
another encore because our old people’s home had a very strict new
warden who would lock us out if we didn’t get back in time, but I’d
always be disappointed if he didn’t. There would be a little pause,
nobody in the audience quite sure whether they should laugh, and then
Mart would beam and give his inimitable, reassuring guffaw. Wonderful
times! I’m going to miss him.
Karlsson and Sheila Collier send their deepest sympathy to Janet Rodger
and family on the sad news that Martin has passed away
With love to
you all xxx
On behalf of the
Merseysippi Jazz Band I would like to express our sincere sympathy to
Mart’s family and friends. He had been a leading figure on the North
West jazz scene for many years and I am sure he will be very much missed
by those who knew him.
Peter Fryer, Band Secretary
news, our thoughts are with Janet and family. I enjoyed playing with
Mart and the MJ many times and was fortunate to be taken along to
Dresden, Vancouver, Norway and the Caribbean: experiences I will always
remember, along with his and Janet’s endless hospitality.
I was so sad to
hear the news about Mart’s death. His dedication to our sort of music
goes back a long way, and I was fortunate to have known him when we were
all young aspiring musicians.
It was about
1959 when my late ex husband joined the Zenith Six when they were very
popular at their venue at the Clarendon in Manchester every Friday night
and lots of gigs around the area. They were also regular visitors to The
Cavern when it opened as a Jazz club. I remember going on a tour of
London clubs with them in those early days which was a lot of fun. I did
manage an odd sit in on piano, but they didn’t use a piano in their line
up In those days, as many trad bands didn’t.
We did lose
touch when we moved to North Wales and had busy lives, but in the last
few years I met up with him and his band when they have played in the
area and it was a real treat to listen to the band, and have a chat with
him and Janet.
to Janet and the family.
I had just
arrived at a gig last night at the Sun Inn, Llangollen, when Alan Wilcox
arrived and told me the sad news about Mart.
the earlier days of Mart’s band, I always longed to be the drummer in
the band, but alas this never came about, but several opportunities
arose to dep with the band which I was very grateful for. I have
always thought that Mart Roger Manchester Jazz was one of the best
around the North West. I will remember him as a good friend and a great
Sue and I
send our sincere condolences to Janet and family at this very sad time.
Hello Fred, I
was shocked to hear about Mart, my daughter phoned me from Devon she had
seen it in your newsletter. Mart played at my 80th birthday party, which
had been arranged as a complete surprise by my family. I have followed
Mart’s band for many years. He was a very talented musician and a
thoroughly nice person. I send my sincere condolences to Janet and his
16/03/19 - A real shock and hard
to take in at the moment!
My first 'gig' with Mart was
when I was at Art College in the 50s. Mart and John Mayall were playing
at a pub in Grosvenor St, All Saints, The Manchaster Arms, I think.
I took my trombone along just to have a sit in. Unfortunately the only
sound I could produce was a wishy-washy breathy noise of indeterminate
pitch due to the cork on the waterkey becoming detached. I was left with
a red face and made my apologies to Mart before slinking out of the
Many years later, Mart invited
me to join Manchester Jazz on a permanent basis playing double bass but
I preferred my status as a freelance. More recently Mart called on me to
dep on local gigs or where Alan Wilcox was unavailable.
Sadly no more to be!
Both Mart and Janet are
remembered in our prayers.
Paul and Elke Medina
Hello Fred, just
read about Mart on your site.
Mart was very
helpful and encouraging when I was starting out and booked me to dep in
his band on several occasions. Very happy memories of being a 15 year
old finishing school and running home to get changed then Mart and Janet
picking me up in their rolls Royce to take me to the gig!! . It was on
these gigs I met jo palin who suggested that playing acoustic rhythm
guitar would be a good thing to do .... he was right! I was a lucky boy
to play with such a great band.
As well as his
superb playing Mart was a great jazz enthusiast and very knowledgeable
about its history and players .
A great loss.
Very best wishes to Janet
I am very sorry to hear the sad
news about Mart.
I first heard him at a concert at the Onward Hall on Deansgate with his
“Hounds of Sound” just before he was called up for his National Service.
I always enjoyed his playing and listening to his band.
My sincere sympathy goes to Janet and any others in his family.
A fine musician and a wonderful person.
brilliant musician and what a bundle of energy. He’ll be missed.
"We treasure many wonderful
memories of our dear friend Mart — going back over 64 years when we were
teenagers. Although now living in Essex, we happily travel north for
MRMJ gigs whenever possible. Monday nights at High Lane is a favourite,
particularly 4th March last. We were so glad to have been there when
each member of the band was on sparkling form. Mart never seemed to have
played better than he did that night. We both remarked that he looked so
happy and fulfilled. Such a special couple — Mart and Janet.
Our thoughts and prayers go out
to Janet and the family at this sad time.”
Ron & Brenda Barker
Dear Fred ,
I am very sorry to hear of the death of my very old friend Mart Roger.
We played together for several years in the late '50s and early 60's in
the renowned Zenith 6 band, with a Friday night residency at the
Clarendon hotel in Oxford Road, Manchester.. Since that time I have also
played on a jazz cruise in the Caribbean , followed by cruising across
the Atlantic , ending up in Palma, Majorca., with Mart's band Manchester
Jazz. Marion Montgomery was featured on the same voyage and sang with
the band several times. The cruise which was on a ship named 'Sunbird'
was my first experience of large ship , deep sea cruising. Since that
time my wife Muriel and I have had the happy experience of cruises to
many beautiful places such Norwegian fiords .the Mediterranean, France,
Belgium , and so on.
So thank you,
Mart, for introducing me to cruising, and of course the immense pleasure
of playing jazz alongside this great clarinet player.
Sincerely, Dave Berry
Devastating news - a true jazz
legend and good friend for many years who will be dearly missed. I was
honoured and delighted when he came to play at my 80th Birthday party a
while back - fantastic memories!
Sincere condolences to Janet and
From Brian Priestley and Family
18/03/19 - Very
sad to learn that Mart Rodger has died.
My life-long devotion to traditional jazz was born on a Friday night at
the Clarendon Hotel, Oxford Street listening to the Zenith Six. I was
technically too young to enter licensed premises and I knew almost
nothing about jazz but it was obvious on that first night that Mart was
a master of his instrument and of the art of jazz music.
Thanks Mart for many joyous times.
Sorry to hear about Mart. A fine
musician. My condolences to Janet.
I was devastated
to hear the sad news.
Mart and I went back a long way. I first met him in 1956 when I was
writing a weekly jazz column on the old Stockport Advertiser. I duly
recorded the birth of his Hounds of Sound (with the future superstar
John Mayall on piano and dear Janet on banjo) and over the next few
years followed his progress with interest. Years later Mart asked me to
handle publicity for his new band – Manchester Jazz – and I was
privileged to contribute sleeve notes to his first George Buck album and
Mart and the boys played at my retirement party, and I was with him only
recently, at an event in Accrington.
My daughters and I will miss him dreadfully.
Colin and I were both shocked
and saddened last week to hear about Mart. I've known Mart (and Janet)
for 30 years but Colin met them well before that. He played in several
bands alongside Mart before joining him as one of the original members
of Manchester Jazz. Mart worked tirelessly for the band and over the
years they have played in some great venues and we have some wonderful
memories of all the places we've been and the people we've met.
Thank you Mart and Janet for all
the good times .
Our sincere condolences to you,
Janet and to all your family.
From Colin and Linda Smith
Janet and his family. I have played with Mart many times as a member of
his band and when he depped with the Savannah Jazz Band. He was a fine
clarinet player and a stalwart of NW Jazz and beyond. His support for
local venues was appreciated by all concerned particularly Didsbury
Cricket Club. He will be greatly missed.
~John Meehan and
the Savannah Jazz Band
Very sorry to hear the news
about Mart Rodger, who made such a huge mark on jazz in the North-west
and well beyond. Although I’d depped with his band a few times, I didn’t
know him very well, but when our daughter Edwina died suddenly in 2015,
Mart took the trouble to phone me and his words were a great comfort in
the face of our raw pain. Thanks, Mart, and rest in peace.
I first met Mart
when a trumpet player friend brought Mart and a banjo player to my
parental home in Glossop. What first attracted me to jazz was the
polyphony and inter-weaving of three voices. This was the first time I'd
been able to experience this from the inside and it was a big day for
me. The year would be 1952/3 and I already had much respect for
Mart as a musician, so add that to my joy. Mart and I played together
from that time on, at first occasionally but increasingly more
frequently. Mart had amazing enthusiasm and zest for life and it all
went into his music. It has been a privilege to work with him on and off
and enjoy his friendship for more than sixty years.
Thank you Mart.
I learned this morning the sad
news of the departure of another perennial stalwart of British
"traditional" jazz, Mart Rodger. I was well aware of Mart and his band,
although I only met him a handful of times - over may years - and played
with him twice. I enjoyed his clarinet playing and it was easy to see
that he was extremely professional and popular as a bandleader. My
condolences to his family, friends and the audiences who will miss his
presence and his music.
Down here in the South West, we recently said goodbye to Roy Pellett,
another clarinet maestro, bandleader and broadcaster. Both these men
have left gaps that will not be filled - but they've also left many
fine, treasured, musical memories with a lot of people.
Many thanks to them. R.I.P.
I was very sad
to hear about the death of Mart. I first met Mart a few months after my
wife passed away in 1998 when I was invited by a friend to see the MRMJ
at the Didsbury cricket club. There I met a lot of friends in an
atmosphere of pure pleasure listening to the band. During that time I
spent many happy times on three Tran-Atlantic cruises from the Caribbean
to Palma, one of which had Marion Montgomery as a guest singer.
Listening to Mart playing solo on his clarinet was a delight.
My thoughts, at
this time, go to his wife Janet and their family.
So shocked and sad about the
sudden death of Mart. Legend seems to be an over used word these
days, but in Mart’s case, a very much deserved title.
I first met Mart when I was a
teenager and he gave me so much encouragement when I was still a very
raw beginner. The North West Jazz Scene has lost a clarinet player who
has been at the top of his game for decades.
Our thoughts go out to Janet and
R.I.P. Dear Friend.
to hear this sad sad news. We were at school together and I have
followed Mart as a friend and as a fan for more than sixty years. Kind
and helpful doesn’t begin to describe Mart. He will be missed by many.
Condolences from Hilary and from me to Janet and the family.
It was such sad news about Mart.
He was very helpful to me when I first started playing jazz. He will be
greatly missed. Love and condolences to Janet.
& I had been close friends since we were about 14 years of age. We had a
mutual pal in John Mayall whose dad (Murray) took us to see the George
Webb Dixielanders at a concert in Stockport. Needless to say we were
blown away & couldn't wait to start playing ourselves. Mart's dad had
bought him a clarinet, John had a guitar & I bought my first drum kit
from Alan Jackson for Ł15 - no two drums the same make or colour!. Our
first gig, with a meagre, but well rehearsed, repertoire was at Cheadle
Hulme Parish Hall & we carried the drums between us on two bikes. Along
with a couple of other keen friends we formed the Darktown Jazz Band &
John did a picture on my bass drum. John & I used to ride a tandem to
Manchester (no late buses home) to see the Saints Jazz Band on a
Saturday night at the Grosvenor Hotel. We were members 7 & 8 of The
Lancashire Society of Jazz Music.
After National Service we became
the Mart Rodger's Jazz Aces, then the Eric Batty Jazz Aces, then the
Dizzy Burton Jazz Aces with Tom Alker replacing Mart who had formed
another band called The Hounds of Sound. Also Sue McManus on banjo
(later Mrs. Alker).
Work took me
away from Manchester for a couple of years, but I returned with a
beautiful Scottish wife (Cathie). I bought a second -hand drum kit from
Dave Berry & began to rejoin the Manchester jazz scene through bands
such as Dave Hopkins, Alan Hare's Bluenote Jazzmen, Randy Colville & the
Pete Haslam Collegians featuring Geoff Wild on trumpet. My big break
came when I was offered the drumstool with The Dallas Jazz Band
replacing Dave Berry who had joined the Red River Jazzmen through the
sad death of Eric Pizey killed in a motor accident. Tony Iddon (founder
& leader) was inspired to play the clarinet by Mart from the old days at
the Clarendon Hotel.
I spent 7
wonderful years with the Dallas band in the company of Tony Foulkes,
Bill Smith, Alan Dent, Dave Mott, Terry Brunt, Roger Browne & Tony
Pollitt. On the sad break-up of the band, I was extremely fortunate to
team up with Ian Royle, Mick Morris, Tony Pollitt (again) & the fabulous
Leo McManus on piano on Sunday nights at the old MSG under the name of
The Nev Taylor Jump Band. The Alan Hare Big Band played upstairs & we
were in the cellar. When the MSG closed I rejoined Tony Foulkes & The
Harlem Hot Stompers at the White Lion on Friday nights in Withington.
Scotland finally called me back for good, & this time, in a role
reversal, Dave Berry took my place & stayed with the band for over 40
years. Old age eventually caught up with him & my son Grant Taylor then
took over the drumstool till pressure of work forced him to retire. In
my final playing years I was in the resident quartet at the world famous
Gleneagles Hotel up here where we live.
Mart & I kept
up the friendship over the years. We both became captains of our
respective golf clubs & he invited me to play Disley G.C. with him on a
couple of occasions. We always went to see the band whenever we were in
Manchester which gave Cathie & me the added pleasure of seeing Janet
again. I had also known Janet from our teenage years when she was the
outstanding swimmer of our group at Bramhall baths.
incredible pair she & Mart have been. Wonderful people full of love for
each other & possessed of a marvellous talent.
I am proud to
have been a close friend for over 70 years.
Jeff Lewis -
Sorry to hear that.
Very sorry to hear this. May he rest in peace.
- My condolences.
- Very sad news.
Bentley - So sorry to hear the terrible news.
Swinnerton - Sorry to hear this. Rest In Peace Mart.
- Sad news. He was a legend around these parts.
- Another good man gone. My sympathy is with the family.
- Very sad news. RIP Mart. 😢
Štefan Méry -
Oh, my god. I am very sad. My condolences to family. God bless
Mart. R.I.P. Thank you for your nice jazzmusic.
Štefan Méry -
- Very sad to hear. It is one of those awful things when commonplace
medical treatment goes terribly wrong, as with Humph, and Don Brow in
- Our thoughts are with Mart's family at this very sad time R.I.P.
Slater - So sorry to hear the sad news. I played alongside Mart a few
times and he was always a true gent. RIP
John Maddocks - So sorry to hear
this. Didn’t know Mart well but a lovely man and a fine clarinet player.
Tad Newton - So sad to hear
this. Mart was a true gentleman. Prayers and thoughts for Janet and the
Christine Mcaviney - RIP
Nick Balmforth - All at Stafford Jazz Society mourn the death of Mart
Rodger. Some fine musical and personal memories will remain.
Harvey Duck - This is a very sad day. Mart was a lovely man and made us
so welcome when we filmed his band. Our deepest sympathy to Janet and
his family and also to the band who must also be feeling so bereft.
Philip Probert - I’m so very sad to hear this news. I remember Mart from
my early twenties when I played with the Blue Magnolia band in Liverpool
back in the late 60s/early 70’s. We thought his band(s) were dangerous
competition from the alien land of Manchester, and they were! There goes
an icon of jazz in the North-West. RIP Matt, and Janet, you are in my
Elizabeth Bacon - Very sorry to hear this sad news. Condolences to all
Harry Davison - So sad. RIP Mart and my love to the family at this sad
Maggie Peplow - Sad news. RIP Mark.