Martin Guy has been on the jazz circuit for over 45 years. He began in the Riverliners Skiffle group in 1957 with Colin & Dave Kellard in Tottenham, North London. Answering an ad in the Melody Maker, the three joined Tommy Dallas’ Band. Other members were the late Nobby Williams (bass) and the soon to be leader, Alvin Roy on clarinet, whose Saratoga Band won the Soho Fair Jazzband competition in 1960 (the judges included Alex Welsh & blues man Memphis Slim). Their prize was a recording contract with Jeff Kruger’s Ember Records.

They toured the country and went to Germany several times playing at the John Marshall clubs in Frankfurt & Cologne. Two more recordings followed for Decca, one of which, True Blue, was played on 2 way Family Favourites.

In these early days Martin took inspiration from Lennie Hastings, Phil Seamen, Alan Ganley, Ronnie Verrell, Johnny Richardson, on the English scene, but has been more influenced over the years by Americans Buddy Rich, Joe Morello, Ed Thigpen, Jeff Hamilton, Mel Lewis, Shelly Manne, Art Blakey, Jake Hanna, Louis Bellson, Connie Kay, Max Roach, Sam Woodyard, Duffy Jackson, Sonny Payne, etc. He briefly had lessons from George Fierstone and Phil Seamen, but is basically self taught.

After the trad boom ended following the bad winter of 1963, Martin freelanced in function, cabaret and jazz settings. Apart from the working mans clubs and pub cabaret sessions, he has managed to play with some great jazzers, including Johnny “Bad Penny Blues” Parker, Stan Greig. Beryl Bryden, Brian Lemmon, Fred Hunt, Harry Gold, Pat Mason, Dave Shepherd, Colin Smith, Jackie Free, Alan Littlejohn, Eggie Lay, Cy Laurie, John Chiltern, George Melly, Harvey Weston, Mike Hogh, Roy Williams, Dave Cliff, Martin Taylor, Paul Morgan, Bill le Sage, Peter Ind, Dick Charlesworth, Alan Elsdon, Kenny Barker, Peter King, Janusz Carmello, Jamie Talbot, George Oag, Rex O’dell, Eddie Thompson, Mick Hutton, Malcolm Creese, Brian Dee, John Birch, Brian Prudence, Jack Fallon, Tony Milliner, Don Rendell, Jimmy Skidmore, Willie Garnett, Digby Fairweather, Ted Beamont, Bruce Adams, Roy Willox, Enrico Tomasso, to name but a few. Also singers Anita Wardell, Trudi Kerr, Helen Keating and Lee Gibson.

In 1979 he became a member of the now defunct Cambridge City Jassband with Dave Barrett & Charles Connor. They often went to Holland to play at festivals and the cream of these was the North Sea Jazz festival at the Hague in the Netherlands in 1982, following Joe Pass on to the stage.

Over the years Martin has been fortunate to have played with some visiting Americans including George Masso, Randy Sandke, Bob Wilber, Dave McKenna, Kenny Daverne, Al Grey, Bill Coleman, Yank Lawson, Billy Butterfield, Benny Walters, Slim Gaillard, Doc Cheatham, Bill Berry, Wild Bill Davison & Bill Aldred.

He has recorded with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Gene “Mighty Flea” Connors. He appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test with Tom Waites, Omnibus with George Melly, Hazell with Lenny Hastings (doing his Tauber impression) and Opportunity Knocks with Phil “Heavyweight” Marlow singing “Lets do the Turkey Trot”, finishing 2nd to Lena Zavaroni.

He was a member of the Nick Dawson Trio for a couple of years and recorded the CD which accompanied the show “Singing on a Star” featuring the music of Sinatra, Nat Cole & Dean Martin.

He was in a short-lived band, Steam, with Tom Hare tenor, Tony Barnard, guitar and Nick Dawson.  Martin gets the Herts & Essex Allstars together when requested, featuring top class players in the area. Mike Cotton, Jackie Free, the late John Patey, Tim Huskisson, Derek Clenshaw, John China, Terry Davis, Nick Dawson, Tony Pitt, Pete Skivington, Nick Newall, Phil Day to name but a few.

He has a dinner jazz trio/quartet which often features Phil Day on tenor which plays in the Ware/Hertford/Harlow area.  He has also recently played with a variety of bands, Jeff Cole and his Hot Coles, Brian White/Alan Gresty , Eastside Stompers, New Stompers, Pete Corrigans Band of Hope, Brian Jones/Jim Douglas Jazzband.

He can occasionally be found in service at the Spice of Life in Cambridge Circus on Friday lunchtimes and the Wenlock Arms in Hoxton on the 3rd Saturday of the month with Chez Chesterman, John Wurr and occasionally Stan Greig or Johnny Parker. He has also worked with the Old Thumper Band with Chris Walker in the Southampton area and also with Chris' swingtet, with which he went cruising on the P&O Adonia in November 2004 and has recently made a recording with Chris & Dave Shepherd in a band called Swing Fever, which will be seen at gigs and festivals during the year.

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