Windsor, Ont., musician lands rare 1942 Martin Handcraft Committee trumpet

 Russ Macklem, a Windsor, Ont., musician, plays his rare 1942 Martin Handcraft Committee trumpet. (Michael Evans/CBC - image credit)
Russ Macklem, a Windsor, Ont., musician, plays his rare 1942 Martin Handcraft Committee trumpet. (Michael Evans/CBC - image credit)

Windsor, Ont., musician Russ Macklem is the new owner of a rare trumpet with a unique story.

"There's no instrument in the world that feels like this or sounds like this," Macklem said of his 1942 Martin Handcraft Committee trumpet. "I'm just grateful it was brought into that store."

Martin Committee was the trademark name of the Martin Band Instrument Company's premier lines of trumpets and saxophones starting in the mid-1930s. Produced in Elkhart, Ind., the Martin Committee trumpets were favourites for many jazz musicians.

Macklem had played the Martin Committee in the past, but recently fell in love with it and the sound, which set up the just-by-chance introduction to his newly acquired rare gem.

"I was playing with [musician] Dwight Adams, who recently got one," Macklem said. "We were at a jam session and he brought his Martin Committee from the early 1960s. I was playing it, and everyone there was saying that I sounded great on it. And it felt really cool to play, so I asked Dwight if he was thinking of selling his."

Though his friend didn't want to sell his trumpet, about a month later, Adams texted Macklem with a lead.

"He said someone brought it into a music store where another friend works," Macklem said. "The repair guy identified it for this person and told him what it was. We met and I managed to negotiate with this gentleman. He was happy that it was going to a home where it would be played and used."

Michael Evans/CBC News
Michael Evans/CBC News

Macklem said what makes this particular 1942 Martin Handcraft Committee trumpet so special is its condition.

"From what I gathered, he only played trumpet for a few months in 1943," Macklem said of the former owner. "His parents bought him the finest trumpet at the time which happened to be this one. He played it for about three months in high school and put it in the case. And it sat in a fruit cellar for 80 years. It's pretty crazy."

Bob Fazecash, director of the University of Windsor Jazz Ensemble, agrees that this truly is a unique find.

"This horn is unique because it has no wear and tear from the past 80 years," Fazecash said. "All the other horns of that vintage would have incurred some dings and dents, and general wear and tear over the decades. This one has no wear and tear. It is like new."

Proving one person's trash is another person's treasure, Macklem has breathed new life into this trumpet, giving it another chapter to its story.

"I am just thankful to have in my possession a brand new 1942 Martin Handcraft Committee," Macklem said. "And beyond, I'm grateful for the great musical community of Detroit that would connect a few people to help me procure this trumpet."

Macklem will be showing off the sound of his new vintage trumpet all over the area, especially on the first Friday of every month during his residency at MotorCity Wine in Corktown in Detroit.