Mac Gollehon

New York’s Trumpet Player Mac Gollehon was born in North Carolina. He began playing the guitar at age 10 in blues and “uptown bands”. His father Joe Gollehon was a trumpet player of natural ability and tone quality similar to Billy Butterfield. He also started Mac on the trumpet around that time. He also taught Mac trombone, French horn, French horn, and euphonium. Mac’s father would insist on the importance of keeping the tone center in focus and not blowing past pitch center. Mac was 13 when he joined the circus. Merle Evans, the band leader, had recently retired. Merle was a well-known cornetist, and Mac played with him on these gigs. Mac had always tried to imitate the sounds around him, so listening was an important experience. Mac continued his high school career playing jazz, blues and rock on all of the instruments he had ever learned. He also performed occasionally with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Mac preferred club work and one-nighters because it was more enjoyable. Mac raced modified stock cars late model models briefly at the age of 17. Mac was 18 when he attended Berklee School of Music, Boston, during the day, and worked in what was known as the “Combat Zone” in the evenings. These were bars that sold strip joints. The gigs began at 8 p.m. and ended at 4 a.m. Mac was a trumpeter, drummer, and Hammond B3 Organ player. Many of the B3 players that were on the circuit at that time were outstanding players, and many of them matched the performance level of some of the most prominent B3 players of that era. It was like going to a gig with Jimmy McGriff or Don Patterson every night. Mac was on that circuit for two years. It was great for building endurance, learning hundreds songs and getting up to the same level as the organists every night. Mac noted that many of these outstanding players lived in relative anonymity due to various reasons. Mac recorded some PBS footage while in Boston but didn’t give much thought to what was in front of his eyes. Mac was very focused on his hardcore jazz lifestyle. Mac learned some lessons from Dr. Elmer White, Appalachian State North Carolina. He then went on the road with Buddy Morrow and later with… Stan Kenton and Buddy Rich. Mac Gollehon, a Trumpet Player, moved to New York City to pursue jazz opportunities. He played at clubs like Tin Palace and Greene St. but he mainly found himself in punk-funk bands at CBGBs. Mac started sparring and boxing as a hobby. He met Tony Anthony, a retired light-heavyweight boxer. Tony was a rising star and was defeated by Archie Moore in 1957 or 1958. He was determined to train Mac, and Mac was to teach him trumpet lessons in return. Tony was just a trumpet player and kept thinking of his former teacher, whom he still visited. It turned out that Tony was actually Miles Davis’ teacher. Tony brought Mac to Miles’ house on the west side, and the trio began to get together several times per week to play trumpet and have fun. Miles wasn’t active at the time, but he became active around a year and a half later. Miles called Mac chops, and gave Mac valuable advice. He told Mac that he likes to play fifty notes at a bar…that’s fine, but it’s not cool to have them all.” Mac found this interesting, as their playing styles were quite different. Miles encouraged Mac to keep his style and told him that he wouldn’t be a grave robber by stealing another’s. Mac and Tommy Turrentine were living in the upper west at the time and they practiced out of the Arban books together. Tommy was a stylistic individual. Mac, strangely, was landing one disco and one R.

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