Roy Main

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He is literally the "main man" in jazz, but that hasn't meant fame and fortune for this trombonist, an obscure performer who is often left out of reference books -- although quite a few working bandleaders…
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He is literally the "main man" in jazz, but that hasn't meant fame and fortune for this trombonist, an obscure performer who is often left out of reference books -- although quite a few working bandleaders and orchestras don't seem to have any trouble remembering that he exists. And, if the world's population was reduced to nothing but trombonists, then Roy Main would be one of the most well-known men left alive, although he still wouldn't be as famous as Eddie Kusby. "Every trombone player you'll talk to will talk about Eddie Kusby," is a Main quote, plucked (naturally) from a published discussion among an exclusive group of trombonists. Main is mainly associated with the west coast music scene, and it may have been his eventual decision to base himself out of San Luis Opisbo rather than Los Angeles that has kept his name out of the national spotlight. Main, nonetheless, has kept as busy as any big-name city slicker, or perhaps slider is more accurate since a trombone is involved.

The move to central California from the much busier entertainment capital of Los Angeles came late in his career, after Main had spent decades managing the massive menu of musical career choices available to a hard-working and technically proficient trombone player. His academic credentials established with a master in tromboning from California State University and Pierce College in Los Angeles, Main seems to have become involved with every possible type of music involving his instrument. He played classical music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Inglewood Symphony, and the Brentwood Symphony, among others. He took studio calls for film and television scores and was a hired horn at a variety of recording sessions including Dean Martin. Main gigged with jazz and dance bands, recording and performing through the '50s and '60s with Les Brand & His Band of Renown. The trombonist also played for years with a selection of chamber and musical theater groups in the Los Angeles area.

About midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the San Luis Opisbo area is quite a contrast to the intense hustle and bustle of either of the larger cities. It is farm country, an area of rolling hills and sand dunes that has also been settled in the past by colonies of artists including the great composer Henry Cowell. A hot local issue in this part of California would not be gang violence, but whether shreeves should have the right to drive their SUV's on the beaches. There would simply be no time for the beach, however, if a person attended every concert event Main has become involved in. It even seems wondrous that the trombonist himself can make it to these performances, because he also seems to keep extremely busy teaching.

He is an instructor of low brass, applied trombone, and brass choir at Cal Poly and also teaches trombone privately. Enter the phrase "studied with Roy Main" into a search engine and a long list of on-line résumés will result, evidence that there could even be an over-population problem among trombonists, all of them talking about Eddie Kusby.

Main works hard to keep all these brass players busy, conducting the school's traditional brass ensemble as well as the Trombone Choir, which he founded and which has grown to the include a dozen trombonists. He plays with the No Deadwood Big Band, the South Bay Chamber Music Society, and the Cal State L.A. Trombone Ensemble. His long relationship with the latter organization has also included conducting and commissioning new music pieces. "Inside Passage" by composer J.A.C. Redford is an example of a work commissioned by Main. It was premiered in 1984 at California State University. Main has published a trombone method book, a trombone etude study book, and two duet books for trombone and trumpet featuring material on the use of scales and chords.