supplied by Ernest Ballard
Ernest Ballard… The late great Roy Martin. Founder of The Jazz Caverners. Who remember his saying at the end of every gig. ” Don’t forget to put the cocoa on mum “. Seen regularly in The Jenny Lind Hastings Great banjo player and band leader. I see he has a road named after him in Eastbourne and also a National Express Coach wow. RIP
Paul Huggett… Good old’ boy.
Roy Penfold… I remember the sheer joy apparent on his face when he led the band marching around at carnivals.
Alan Esdaile… Agree Roy.
Ernest Ballard… Yes he really loved his band. I feel he showed us a true love of music. A true legend and local hero. He brought joy to so many.
Geoff Peckham… Roy was the heartbeat of the Jazz Caverners and the Expedient Marching Band when I followed them around ’69-’72. I think ‘joy’ is the right word – he loved the music and playing it, and gave joy to those who listened. He was always so friendly and kind. Years later, I was playing with Uncle John’s Band in Lewes for the library (we had all the wild gigs!) and Roy, who I believe worked for the library (?) was there. He recognised me and when I introduced him to the band, he asked if he could join us for a song or two. The others weren’t keen owing to previous experiences with oddballs, even though I told them he was fine. Later, in the middle of a Cajun dance tune, Mamou Two Step, he leapt up, grabbed a mic and proceeded to perform a ‘Cajun rap’ over it. The lads in the band were initially a bit concerned, but they soon realised they were in the presence of …..Well, I’m not sure, really! But we all had fun and his fellow librarians loved it! As you say, a true local legend!
Ernest Ballard… Nicely put.
Chris Watford… Roy Martin was a great friend of mine, and a real character on the Sussex jazz scene. However, he was not the “founder of the Jazz Caverners” ! Let me explain :-
When the Hastings band, the Dolphin Jazzband broke up after some 9 years together, trombonist Brian Towers and myself re-formed as the Jazz Caverners, and as Roy had a van and was willing to bring over fellow members of Eastbourne’s Mojo Rhythm Kings, we offered him the chance to join the new band on banjo – although we already had a banjoist in the band, Geoff Coates. This worked out well, as Geoff would disappear to Europe quite often to go busking with his guitar. We were into the Classic style of 1920s jazz, so never sounded like a banjo band, and we recorded for the specialist label Vintage Jazz Music (VJM) in London in the early 1960s. Brian Towers, still playing at the age of 83 out in Toronto, has recently compiled a CD of these early tracks, and if your readers want to purchase a copy, they can contact Brian by Googling ” Hot Five Jazzmakers “. Back in the 1950s, Roy was the originator of the Expedient Brass band, which played at Bonfire Night parades all over East Sussex for many years- often in torrential rain ! It was an authentic New Orleans Parade band with a flexible line up depending on who was available on the night, and usually comprised up to eleven musicians, who came from jazz bands from as far afield as Hastings; Lewes;Eastbourne; Crawley, and even London jazz musicians came down. These would include Colin Bowden (drums), clarinettists Roy Pellett and Tony Pyke, trombonist Mike Pointon, etc etc. Even as late as 1966, when I had married and was living in Hildenborough, Kent, I would come down for the occasional Parade at places like Mayfield and Crowborough. In 2012 we had a Reunion in St.Leonards, and after a lunchtime meal for the musicians, we were greeted by over 150 old fans of the Dolphin Jazz band, and the Jazz Caverners, most of whom we hadn’t seen for some 50 years ! I put together a Reunion Double CD of unissued tracks by the bands, and I still have just a handful left, if anyone wishes to obtain it. Roy Martin is, of course on some of the tracks, playing and singing in his own unique way.