The jazz world lost one of its greatest talents at the weekend. Rod Mason died in hospital after a short illness. I was his piano player from 2007 – 2010 and enjoyed every minute. This was the famous Rod Mason & His Hot Five! Europe’s hottest, tightest, best classic jazz group. Up front with Rod we had Andy Leggett on clarinet and John Mortimer on trombone. John was of course Acker Bilk’s main man for years and we were very lucky to have him in the band – his comments and antics (although well hidden from the audience) had us in stitches!
Rod was one of those „full-on“ trumpet and cornet players. He was at his happiest playing classic jazz numbers from the Louis Armstrong or King Oliver repertiore but he could pull out all the stops and blow any modern players into the ground if he felt like it.
He was a very shy and modest man with a vicious temper at times. He wasn’t a fan of the limelight but was a professional bandleader who let his players do their thing. Our cue to get back on stage after a break was either a little yodel or the command „Pisses and Pints boys, Pisses and Pints“… Usually followed by a sigh and a good chuckle! Rest in peace Rod!
Acker Bilk with Rod Mason and John Mortimer in 1973
Rod with the Dutch Swing College Band back in the 80s
Rod Mason & His Hot Five in Dresden