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Los Angeles lounge music icon Marty Roberts, the drummer and upright bassist in the “Marty & Elayne” act that entertained at the Dresden Lounge in Los Feliz for 35 years, has died at age 89. No cause of death was immediately available.
His death was confirmed by his daughter, Hali, who wrote: “We are heartbroken, the greatest man alive has gone on to Heaven. Marty passed peacefully on Thursday the 13th, 2022. My mom and I are devastated by his loss and there is nobody that could ever take his place. He had a joke and a smile (smiling is free, he would say!) for everyone he met and was the kindest, most self sacrificing man in the world. We will miss him more than words can express.”
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Born on April 10, 1932, in New York City, Marty met Elayne in L.A. in the ’70s. They played in various lounges around town, including a stint at Michael’s in Los Feliz, where their act was caught by the Dresden’s owner. Their gig at the Dresden started in 1981 and quickly grew into a thing for the area’s hipsters, who enjoyed the drums-and-piano vibe and often joined in for a song or two.
Their mix of jazz standards and loungey takes on pop music became such a cult classic that Jon Favreau used them in his Los Feliz-centric 1996 film, Swingers, and they often were joined by such celebs as Flea, Julia Roberts and David Lynch, among others.
Later, Tom Petty paid his homage by including them in the “Yer So Bad” video. They also had a cameo in an episode of Mr. Show.
Marty had a heart attack in January 2020 while performing at the Dresden. Elayne soldiered on as a solo for six weeks after that. Then the music at the Dresden was silenced by the pandemic.
Roberts’s daughter indicated that a celebration of his life will be held at the Dresden at a date to be determined, with online access for out-of-staters.
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