RIP Martin Drew (1944-2010)

It is a sad week for jazz drumming, as Ronnie Scott’s reports of the death of Martin Drew after a heart attack, age 66.

The house drummer at Ronnie’s between 1975 and 1995, Martin worked with many household names, including Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzie Gillespie. Martin was perhaps best known for his work with the Oscar Peterson Trio, which saw him perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

Jack Massarik writes a full obituary for jazzwise here. Lance Liddle’s blog, bebop spoken here also features a tribute to Martin by Adrian Tilbrook. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Categories: miscellaneous

14 replies »

  1. Dreadful news. An exceptional drummer and one of the good guys. Condolences to his family.

    What a month for British jazz, Martin, Chris Dagley, Harry Beckett. So sad.

  2. Only saw Martin a couple of weeks ago at Swanage.He was on top form.Without equal,this modest man will be sadly missed.
    Chris&Tony Thomas

  3. I first worked with Martin back in 1962 at a function gig and was immediately impressed with this young drummer. A year or two later we were both in the Eddie Thompson trio which involved broadcasts and recordings. Over the years I have worked with him on many recordings. He was always destined for greatness. He had fantastic time and it is no wonder that he spent so many years at Ronnie Scotts and then with Oscar Peterson, the epitome of his success. We were last together with Lianne Carroll and what a great night that was. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to Tessa and the family.
    Len Skeat

  4. I came to admire Martin's work over his early days at Ronnie's and Ron Hall and I booked him on my last 'old fashioned' LP, Time for Rosemary. We last worked together at the 606 club. With Martin every performance was memorable – another sad loss. My condolences to his family
    Rosemary Squires.

  5. Martin was my friend for twenty year or so. I shall miss him greatly but remember with affection and pride.
    Glenn Weston

  6. I do not know what to say……Martin was such an influence on my playing……I had lessons in the 70's with him as a very young teen drummer and he was so kind and helpful.

    I am very, very sad at this news and I truly send love to his family at this time.

    We have lost a giant from the world of jazz drumming.

    Ray Smith

  7. Dear Martin,
    A loss to the world of music, you always played as an fantastic musician but you understood that the role of a drummer is to be an accompanist.
    Fnd fuzzy recolations of our time at the down stairs bar at ronnies,
    Andy Gleadhill

  8. Martin and I first worked together in the early 60s at functions when we were very young.
    Although I was a singer learning his trade, I knew what I wanted to hear behind me and when Martin was on drums, that was what I wanted to hear.

    We went on to share many a swinging gig together and just as many laughs.

    I, like millions of others have enjoyed his deserved rise to jazz fame and will miss him very much.

    I am so pleased that we managed to work together one more time, not long ago, when I was asked what I was doing with Oscar Peterson's drummer.

    My deepest condolences to Tessa and family,

    Mel Danser

  9. A great loss. A lovely bloke. My condolences to his family.

    In 1981 he came with Oscar Peterson to Canberra in Australia. After a terrific concert, I went (as a jazz drummer) backstage to meet him. For someone who was arguably playing with one of the world's leading pianists (in any genre) he was modest, friendly and as interested in what I was doing as I was in his work. He showed me some of his techniques, including single paradiddles with triplet accents. He played them so effortlessly, and I – after 29 years – still can't do them at speed.

    I will always remember Martin Drew.

  10. it seems hard to believe that 3 years have gone by,i met martin at ronnie's in the early 80's.we played at the club for two weeks at a time,Martin sat in on timbales and blew me away,i still miss his warm smile and bear hug……
    Mario Grillo http://www.machitoorchestranyc.com

  11. Out of all the world class drummers,to be asked by Oscar to be his drummer for so many years.Martins family and friends can truly be very very proud of of Martins musicianship.
    Pete Law x Royal Marines drummer.

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