Rod Mason (28 September 1940 – 8 January 2017) was an English musician (trumpet, cornet, vocals) who played trad jazz.
Mason was born in Plymouth, England. As a young man he played with the local Tamar Valley Jazz Band, in which his father, Frank “Pop” Mason, had played drums. His father and mother Gwen, ran the family soft drinks company Mason’s Minerals. At Kelly College, in Tavistock, Mason played the bugle with the cadet corps, after which he developed a keen interest in a spare valve trombone. He played this in his father’s band until the trumpet player left; Mason replaced him using a brass-band style cornet.
From 1959 to 1960, Mason played briefly with the Cy Laurie band. In 1962, when Monty Sunshine left the Chris Barber band to form his own group, Sunshine hired Mason on the recommendation of Kenny Ball. In the mid-1960s after leaving Sunshine, he worked in the family business and played occasionally, until a winning appearance on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks TV talent show which led to a flood of offers. A facial paralysis forced him to use other mouthpieces, which allowed him to extend the range of his instrument. In 1965, he founded his own band, and from 1970 he played in the Acker Bilk’s Paramount Jazz Band, before he founded a band together with Ian Wheeler in 1973.
This was a band with musicians such as Brian Lemon, Dick Wellstood or Bob Wilber. He recorded numerous recordings for the Reef label. From 1980, Mason played in the Dutch Swing College Band. In 1985, he founded Hot Five band, with which he released a number of albums for Timeless Records and regularly toured Europe. Mason is according to Digby Fairweather “a world-class trumpeter […] with a phenomenal versatility, unlimited endurance and the frightening ability to sound like Louis Armstrong.” In later life he lived with his wife Ingrid in Kaarst, Germany.
Mason had a keen interest in both motorcars and motorcycles which led to a separate career as a speedway rider. He represented Plymouth on cinder tracks all over the UK although, as a result, suffered many minor injuries which made him decide to remain with music. He played his last gig in Kaarst, Germany in December 2016 and died three weeks later, after developing peritonitis and pneumonia. His son, Timmy, predeceased him. He is survived by Ingrid and his other son, Simon. (wikipedia)
And here is a very rare recording of him, recorded at the Studienhaus, Hamburg/Germany (=BP is the Mineral Oil Company !) and I think this live recording was only distributed in a small edition, perhaps only for selected customers of the BP oil companyThis album was only distributed in Germany (so te booklet is complete in German)
And it was an excellent set, almost like the sum of all his musical experiences and career.
Like a good old whisky, matured in old casks … it’s like his legacy, a damn good legacy !
It´s time to discover Rod Mason again !
Recorded live at the BP Studienhaus, Hamburg/Germany, 04. Februay, 1988
Udo Jägers (banjo)
John Mortimer (trombone)
Andy Leggett (saxophone,clarinet)
Rod Mason (cornet, vocals)
Ralf Peyer (piano)
Pauline Pearce (vocals on 05., 10., 15. + 16.)
01. The Blues Was Born In New Orleans (Dixon) 3.15
02. Creole Belles (Lampe/Sidney) 3.07
03. Corinne, Corinna (Traditional) 5.22
04. New Orleans Stomp (Oliver/Picou) 3.10
05. Amazing Grace (Traditional) 4.19
06. Mona Lisa (Livingston/Evans) 4.09
07. Jazzin’ Babies Blues (Jones) 3.47
08. Mackie Messer (Brecht/Weill) 4.07
09. Si Tu Vois Ma Mere (Bechet) 4.48
10. He Looked Beyond My Faults (Weatherly) 5.01
11. BP March (Traditional) 2.35
12. Angry (Brunies) 3.57
13. Aunt Hagar’s Blues (Handy) 5.25
14. Flat Foot (Hardin) 3.33
15. Devil’s Gonna Get You (Grainer) 3.14
16. Mean To Me (Ahlert/Turk) 2.59
17. Willie The Wheeper (Bloom/Melrose) 3.28
18. Blueberry Hill (Rose/Lewis) 2.28
19. Don’t Forget To Mess Around (Armstrong/Barbarin) 4.01
20. Lilli Marleen (Connor/Schultze) 3.56
Taken from the now deleted website: