"I was on this program 'The Prairie Home Companion' and I did a song which I thought I was doing perfectly straight, Victor Young's 'A Hundred Years from Today,' " says Marty Grosz. "The audience started tittering. I was wondering what was wrong -- someone hung a sign on my back? My fly was open? I just did the first line, 'Don't save your kisses, just pass them around,' and they started giggling."
Grosz, who accompanies himself on guitar, will be at the Maryland Inn, Annapolis, Tuesday through Sunday with the Classical Jazz Quartet. Richard Sudhalter will be on cornet, trumpet and flugelhorn, Joe Muranya on clarinet and soprano saxophone and Dick Wellstood at the piano.
"If you take the lyrics from almost any song and read them slowly without the music," insists Grosz, "the banality and the triteness and the contrivance become apparent. It isn't Marvel or Donne or Shakespeare, it's really a Tin Pan Alley lyric, a lot of moaning about love. 'Do, Do, Do Like You Done, Done, Done Before, Baby,' " Grosz says, laughing. "But that's not the point. The point is the fusion of the music and the lyric in the best composers. You forget the lyric because the music sweeps it along."
Along with the many instrumentals the quartet will offer, Grosz says they do a four-voice version of "Mississippi Mud" in German. His own vocal contributions will include "Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jibe," a 1934 slam at critics. "Say, if you want to hear them begin," goes one verse, "just bring out a bottle of gin, and take a lesson on how to imbibe, from Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jibe."