Mr. Trombone Essay, Research Paper
There is a man in Kansas City that people refer to as Mr. Trombone! His family knows
him as Arch Martin. He’s not a very famous trombone, but a great jazz musician. Warren
Durrett says, “He is one of the most beloved, talented, successful pillars of the profession, a
natural salesman, and one who can contribute to the long, pleasant life of a band leader.”
Martin was born, and lived his whole life in Independence, Missouri. In 1949 he
graduated from William Chrisman High School. When Martin was fifteen he started playing at
strip joints and clubs. His parents had to sign a letter stating that it was okay to go to these
indecent places. “They knew how badly I wanted to play,” says Arch. John Terry, the famous
jazz drummer, started Arch Martin in his first band at The New Orleans Room. Arch played in a
six-piece band with drummer Freddie Finch, and saxophonist Russ Godbey. Later Finch, the
leader, died. So, Arch became the leader of the band.
Arch Martin wanted to try out the jazz world of New York, so he did. In New York,
Arch got an audition for a job with Claude Thornhill’s band. They took a trip off to Europe and
took an unexpectedly long trip for twelve weeks. So the trip ended and Martin moved on to
Tulsa. There he played for Eddie Baker’s band at The Club Royale for awhile. He got a phone
call in the summer of 1957. It was Jay Migliori, who played the tenor sax for Woody Herman’s
band. Jay told Arch there was an opening for a second trombone player. It just happened to be
right next to the seat of Arch Martin’s idol, Bill Harris. So Arch auditioned and he got the job.
Martin says, “The musical experiences in the Woody Herman band were wonderful. Arch
played with some great jazz musicians such as, Bobby Lamb, Cy Tough Al Betto, Jimmy Guinn
and Willie Thomas. They were always on the road. Martin was getting weary of it, so he told
Woody Herman that he was going to quit.
Arch came back to Kansas City worked for the Paradise Club with Jimmy Keith. Jess
Cole, the saxophonist, offered Arch a job at his band instrument store in Raytown. Which lead
to many jobs, including Jenkins Music, Stanbury Band Uniforms, and Conn Musical Instruments.
Colle ended up dieing in 1975. There was an award named after him, called, “The Jess Cole
Award.” It just so happens that Arch Martin ended up winning it.
Today Arch is a district sales manager of United Musical Instruments, they are
manufacturers of Conn, King, and Benge instruments. Arch, and his wife live in Overland Park.
He has four, full-grown children that live in California. Arch Martin has lived a very successful
life. In my opinion he is one of Kansas City’s greatest jazz musicians ever.
Leisenring, John, “Mr. Trombone,” Kansas City Ambassador Magazine,