Stan Marsden, whose diverse musical talents helped the Vito Mamone Trio bridge generation gaps for almost 40 years, died Wednesday afternoon at the Wesley Health Care Center in Saratoga Springs. He was 81.
A native of Hamilton, Ontario, who moved to Great Britain as a child, Marsden sang vocals and played the vibraphone and drums. His first gig in the Capital Region was in 1956 at Otto’s in Latham, and within a year he was playing regularly in the area as a member of the Dale Foster Quartet. Also in that group were Mamone and Sidney Norman, who in 1961 struck out on their own with Marsden as the Vito Mamone Trio.
“He sang very well, and he played the drums and the vibes very well,” said Mamone, reached at his home Thursday. “He was top-notch, a very talented guy.”
The Mamone Trio was one of the more popular groups in the Capital Region for more than 30 years.
“We played a little bit of everything; whatever was popular, whatever the top 10 stuff was of that day,” said Mamone. “Stan really loved jazz. He mostly sang the jazz vocals, but he also did a lot of the standards and some of the newer popular songs. We were a band with real variety.”
Marsden, Mamone and Norman played at places like The Golden Fox in Colonie, The Country Gentleman in Saratoga Springs and Mill Road Acres in Latham, to name just a few.
“We were very fortunate because we made a living at it,” said Mamone. “I did most of the arranging because I was the schooled musician. Stan was the natural musician. We played regularly four or five nights a week, and sometimes it was six nights a week. Back then there were some great restaurants and nightclubs that would have music that many nights. It’s not like that anymore.”
Skip Parsons’ group, The Riverboat Jazz Band, played the same venues as Marsden’s for years.
“We shared the limelight with them way back in the ’60s,” said Parsons. “I played a couple of sessions with him, too. He was a real good musician and a good guy.”
While Marsden wasn’t a schooled musician, he was a real student of the art, according to pianist Peg Delaney.
“He was extremely intellectual and had a lot of knowledge about music and musicians,” said Delaney. “He was an incredibly talented musician, and he also did a lot of writing. He’s written the lyrics to a few songs that I wrote, and he also wrote poetry. After the trio broke up, Stan hired me a few times to play with him, and he was a very hard worker. He was very hard on himself.”
Delaney’s husband Bill, also a musician and the stepson of Dale Foster, said Marsden took the music business very seriously.
“Amongst his friends he was pretty easy to get to know, but he could be very serious and in later years he was a bit reclusive,” said Bill Delaney. “But he did stay in touch with his friends.”
Marsden sold his vibraphone in 2002 and stopped performing professionally.
Mamone saw Marsden last week as did the Delaneys, who earlier in the month brought with them Lee Shaw, another talented jazz pianist from the Capital Region, for a visit.
“You should have seen Stan’s face light up,” said Peg Delaney. “He wasn’t feeling that well and he had lost a lot of weight, but he was happy to see Lee. We were ready to go see him again this week when we got the phone call.”
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Categories: Life & Arts