improvise on the keyboard, despite a lack of any formal music training. While Garner was an artist, not a businessman, Ms. Glaser found that by combining her love for Jazz, her civil rights advocacy, and her innate business acumen, she was able, after signing an exclusive contract with Mr. Garner, to advance his career onto a level of prestige hitherto unavailable to Jazz artists.
Garner’s 1955 composition “Misty”, quickly became a classic, and was the twelfth most played ASCAP song of the 20th Century, due in no small part to Ms. Glaser’s untiring efforts to promote and maintain Mr. Garner’s image as a world-class composer. Her success in that effort is evidenced in his long list of laurels, including a triumphant appearance at Carnegie Hall, winning the French Prix du Disque, and securing the only Jazz music booking contract with classical music agent Sol Hurok. Mr. Garner shared that roster with Andres Segovia, Isaac Stern, and the Bolshoi Ballet.
Ms. Glaser’s vision encompassed recording as well, and she was a pioneer in producing Mr. Garner’s discs in the then-nascent Long-Playing format. In a singular instance, she instinctively secured a simple tape recording of one of Mr. Garner’s trio shows, in Carmel California, and when it was released as “Concert by the Sea” on Columbia, it became one of the largest selling Jazz releases of all time.
Throughout this unbroken record of success, Ms. Glaser never lost sight of her early devotion to equal rights; She inserted a clause into Mr. Garner’s contracts prohibiting segregation of his audiences, a decade before the Civil Rights Act declared the practice illegal. Mr. Garner’s worldwide fame notwithstanding, Ms. Glaser shunned publicity herself, although her record of success in the music business, which was dominated in the 1950’s by males in executive positions, is testimony to her tenacious hold on a position of equality among her colleagues.
Ms. Glaser was also a pioneer in the concept of musical artists owning the copyrights to their own work, an unusual concept at the time, and one of great benefit to Mr. Garner, who reciprocated with twenty seven years of loyalty to Ms. Glaser and their co-owned publishing and production company, Octave Music. After Mr. Garner’s career was cut short by his untimely death in 1977, Ms. Glaser maintained her tireless effort to keep his music in it’s premiere position, securing hundreds of licensed usages and overseeing a continual stream of LP and CD releases drawn for her trove of studio productions of the pianist’s work.
This stream of releases continues. Thanks to Martha's diligence and perseverance and in keeping with her wishes, the full scope of Garner’s recordings, including many newly discovered unreleased treasures as well as his first known recording in 1937 and his final concert, are now in the process of being archived, digitized and assessed. These recordings, photographs, video, symphonic scores, memorabilia, legal and civil rights documentation span the tandem careers of two unique individuals, one an original jazz improviser, and the other a true innovator in the areas of human rights, the arts, and business.
Ms.Glaser is survived by her niece, Susan Rosenberg, Susan’s partner Dawn, and their daughter Molly.