The Freddy Martin collection consists largely of the arrangements Martin's various bands
played over the nearly fifty years of his career as a band leader. Series I consists of
more than 4000 manuscript band scores with parts. Series II consists of other types of
music, including published sheet music, published arrangements and manuscript lead
sheets. Series III consists of Freddy Martin biographical materials, including
correspondence, lists of arrangements, photographs, programs and memorabilia.
Freddy Martin (1906-1983) was a band leader/saxophonist during the Swing Era and after.
He was known for his beautiful tone. Raised in Ohio orphanage, Martin learned instruments
in the orphanage band. Encouraged by Guy Lombardo, he formed his own group (1932) and
began to play dance clubs in New York and Chicago. Martin appeared on several radio
programs during the 1930s and became identified with dance arrangements of popular
classics, the most famous of which was probably his theme song, "Tonight we love,"
derived from the opening melody of Chaikovskii's First Piano Concerto (1941). Martin came
west in 1941, first establishing himself at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco and
later at the Cocoanut Grove of the Amabassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where he remained
for more than twenty-five years. In later years, Martin helped foster a nostalgia craze
for the "Big Band Sound." He toured the nation with his group playing arrangements made
famous by the many bands of the Swing Era (1965-1980). More a performer and administrator
than an arranger, Freddy Martin farmed out the work of creating a "Martin Sound" over
fifty years to many arrangers. Among those represented in this collection, Bob Ballard
was certainly Martin's principal arranger from 1950 to 1983, but others, including Murray
Arnold, Ray Austin, Elmer Feldkamp, Del Lampe, Terry Shand, Eddie Sheasby and Fred Van
Eps are also well-represented.