Clarinetist, Mart Rodger played his first gig more than fifty years ago. He's been a driving force on the Manchester jazz scene ever since. In fact, Mart Rodger's Manchester Jazz
holds onto a local longevity record in the Manchester region. The band has played for trad-night every Monday at the Didsbury Cricket Club since 1984. That's a 21-year gig!
Refusing to be tied to a single style, the septet plays classic jazz in New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City, San Francisco and New York styles. Tunes are often drawn from such unlikely sources as Sonny Rollins, Oscar Peterson and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley as illustrated in this new release.
Normally a strong ensemble unit, an American fan requested several tunes featuring various band members as soloists. Eager to please their fans, the leader launched this recording project aptly titled Solos
. Mart Rodger kicks off the session with his hot version of "Fine And Dandy." Pianist Roger Browne follows with Oscar Peterson's beautiful "Hymn To Freedom" with a classic jazz twist. Browne is a highly original player and further delights the listener with an adventurous reading of "Honeysuckle Rose."
Trumpeter, Allan Dent, delivers an emotional and fiery version of "I'll See You In My Dreams" trading fours with drummer Nigel Cretney. He gets a chance to show his muted style on "September In The Rain."
Cannonball Adderley and Jon Hendricks penned "Sermonette" decades ago and the bop classic becomes a preaching vehicle for the Manchester Jazz rhythm section.
Leader, Mart Rodger, returns in a sentimental mood for his showpiece. The tune is a creation of vintage pianist Claude Hopkins. Titled "Crying My Heart Out For You," the clarinetist's heartfelt rendition sent this writer scrambling to my shelves of vinyl and shellac hoping to find the Hopkins original. The tune is seldom heard gem! It's easy to understand why "Alice in San Diego" requested this song in particular. Alice has great taste. Solos
is a highly recommended album for fans of traditional and mainstream jazz.