Mac Marlow has spent exactly half of his 92 years in Fort Wayne Indiana. The other half he spent in another world, called Brooklyn New York. Growing up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression was a challenge.
“The neighborhood was unbelievable,” Mac says, “The parents used to hide their kids. Why? The Mafia, murder incorporated.”
That was the downside. The upside was New York City in the 1920’S and ‘30’S was the jazz capital of the world, and young, talented trombone player Mac Marlow was part of it all. Between the world wars he played with all the jazz and big band greats, Duke Ellington, Van Alexander
“And Ella, Lena Horn, Harry James, Woody Herman, I’ve been with all of them,” he says. “And Doris Day is the one that gave me that name Marlow. My real name is Malowitz. She says its professionalism.”
When he wasn’t playing a dancehall or club Marlow rode the rails, traveling the country with big bands.
“I caught on with the Barnett Band and I’ll tell you when I came to Fort Wayne.” He picks up one of several dozen well worn appointment books and sifts through the pages until he finds the date he’s looking for. “Palace Theatre, Fort Wayne Indiana February 1943. Just three days, a weekend.”
Mac Marlow was also a concert violinist and in 1962 he and his wife Lenora, a cellist, came to Fort Wayne to play with the philharmonic. Mac left the orchestra seven years later and taught violin, to thousands of kids. It has been a very busy life in music.
“For me it was a thrill,” he says, “I miss it so much now. I miss it so much.”
At 92 Mac Marlow is spry and healthy, but longevity has its dark side. He’s been a widower for 25 years.
“Well the thing is I miss my wife. She was the kind of person I was never wrong but she had a way to go around. I don’t read obituaries anymore because everyone I know is gone. I manage somehow, I manage the day passes I’m planning I’m plotting. Life is what you make it. I didn’t plan it.”
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