Martin Litton Red Hot Peppers

Martin Litton (p)  Paul Lacey (t)Trevor Whiting (cl) Will Scott (reeds) Alistair Allen (tr) Spats Langham (bjo, g) Malcolm Sked (b) Nick Ward (d) 

Martin Litton

Martin Litton

Martin has been a frequent visitor to Swanage since the second festival, as a soloist and guest, but also with his bands featuring the music of Jelly Roll and Fats Waller. Martin formed his Red Hot Peppers, named after Morton’s studio groups of the 1920s, as the on stage band for the Royal Court theatre’s 1990 production of “Mr.Jelly Roll.” Since then they have broadcast on BBC radio and appeared in concert and at jazz festivals, becoming, arguably, the finest ensemble of its kind in the world. Featuring accurate transcriptions representing all periods of Morton’s career, the band also plays Martin’s original and stylistically faithful arrangements of pieces never recorded in an orchestral form by the self styled ‘inventor of jazz.’

Martin was born in Grays, Essex in 1957. When he was 12 years old, his first piano teacher introduced him to the sheet music of Jelly Roll Morton’s Blues and Stomps, and sparked a life-long interest on the work of the first significant composer in jazz.

Martin worked with Kenny Ball from 1983-1985 on his British tours and for recording sessions with George Chisholm. He has worked with many musicians over his career, including Humphrey Lyttelton, Wally Fawkes and Digby Fairweather. His stylistic range runs from Harlem stride to Teddy Wilson and Jess Stacey. His Gramercy Five band recreated the small group swing style of Artie Shaw. He also leads a septet playing his transcription/arrangements of Jelly Roll Morton famous recordings. He has made several appearances on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Library as a noted authority on early jazz piano styles.

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  • Abbreviations:

    Abbreviations: (as) alto sax, (b) acoustic bass, (bjo) banjo, (bg) bass guitar, (bs) baritone sax, (cl) clarinet, (ct) cornet, (eg) electric guitar, (flg) flugel horn, (g) guitar, (kb) keyboard, (p) piano, (perc) percussion, (sousa) sousaphone, (t) trumpet, (tr) trombone, (ts) tenor sax, (vtr) valve trombone, (vibes) vibraphone, (viol) violin, (voc) voice.

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  • Swanage Jazz Festival gratefully acknowledges financial support from PRS for Music Foundation.
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