Martin Litton - pianist


Welcome to the sensational world of Martin Litton, an enchanting pianist renowned for his virtuosic technique and infectious passion for music. The list below gives a brief description of the types of performances you can expect when you book a show. Litton paints a picture of his intricate musical landscape. He invites audiences to lose themselves in his mesmerising renditions. Step into his rhythm and witness an unforgettable journey of melodies that showcase his profound talent, along with the performers who accompany him. Brace yourself for an epic musical ride, as Martin Litton takes you on a spellbinding adventure through jazz, with a timeless elegance that speaks directly to the soul


Martin Litton, a graduate in music, has had a lifelong interest in syncopated music and in this talk will explain the history of ragtime from the piano. Ragtime is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918. Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated or ‘ragged’ rhythm. Scott Joplin was the most famous composer of ragtime, but there were many others. After being forgotten and neglected, ragtime re-emerged when the film The Sting brought ragtime to a wide audience with its soundtrack of Scott Joplin tunes. The film’s rendering of Joplin’s 1902 rag The Entertainer was a top 5 hit in 1974. (Live Music)

Age of Ragtime photo
Age of Ragtime photo


This trio, featuring the virtuosic banjo, guitar playing and crooning of ThomasSpatsLangham with the piano playing of stride expert Martin Litton and the fine double bass work of Richard Vernon, originated with the Sporting House Quartet. Led originally by the popular pianist/entertainer the late Tommy Burton, their eclectic repertoire encompasses ragtime, blues, jazz and popular and novelty songs from the 1920s and 30s.


Martin Litton’s sextet deftly recreates Artie Shaw’s Gramercy 5, one of the greatest ‘bands within a band’ from the swing era. Stepping into Shaw’s shoes is the outstanding clarinettist Mark Crooks, who has performed Shaw’s music at Cadogan Hall and at the Lincoln Centre in New York, and is a regular member of the John Wilson Orchestra. The playlist includes such classics as Summit Ridge Drive, My Blue Heaven, and Special Delivery Stomp.

Age of Ragtime photo


Martin Litton’s Red Hot Peppers was originally formed as the band on stage for the play Mr Jelly Roll for which Litton transcribed and arranged the music. The play premiered at the 1990 Bude Jazz Festival and subsequent performances included London’s Purcell Room and the Royal Court Theatre, and festivals in Ludlow and Hay on Wye. The Red Hot Peppers continues to enjoy a life of its own and has broadcast on Radio Two’s Jazz Parade· and Jazz Notes· and has appeared in concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Snape Maltings Proms. Featuring some of Europe’s finest musicians in the classic jazz style, the band is a perennial favourite at such jazz festivals as Swanage, Keswick and Whitley Bay, confirming their status as the world’s most popular Jelly Roll Morton tribute band.


Born on 21st May 1904, Thomas Fats Waller filled his 39 years with a vibrant musical career. He favoured the organ from his church-boy days but his jazz improvisations irked his preacher father. He played piano at Harlem rent parties, developing a taste for alcohol. He turned into a widely celebrated recording artist in America and Europe, adored for his humorous vocals and stride piano skills. For this show, pianist Martin Litton arranged Waller’s classics, including Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose, and A Handful Of Keys, as well as some lesser-known pieces, and presents them with entertaining narratives.

Britain’s top jazz musicians recreate Waller’s studio band His Rhythm. These include the country’s leading swing trumpet player, Enrico Tomasso, the peerless clarinet and tenor saxophonist Trevor Whiting, popular entertainer Thomas ‘Spats’ Langham on guitar and vocals, and vintage-style percussionist Richard Pite.

The ensemble brings Waller’s music to life with an authentic touch, faithfully reproducing his signature style and infusing their performances with energetic improvisations. 


Age of Ragtime photo