Marty Sarlette is a sax player extraordinaire
Marty Sarlette is a sax player extraordinaire. He inherited a lot of his saxophone skills from his father, Walt Sarlette, who was an area band director, co-founder of Sarlettes Music, and who - most notably - played sax and clarinet in his own musical groups and many other bands throughout his life. Marty graduated from Morris High School, having played in concert and jazz bands from 5th grade on. He then attended the University of Minnesota - Morris, where he learned more about music and his instrument of choice. He studied privately with Clyde Johnson, from whom he also garnered theory and arranging skills, and learned his jazz chops from “Jim “Doc” Carlson, world-renowned jazz educator.
After graduating from UMM in the early-80s, Marty enlisted in the Air Force. His first assignment was the SAC (Strategic Air Command) Band, stationed in Omaha, NE. While in Omaha, he played in the Concert Band, the “Notables” big band, and their rock band “Night Wing.” After 4 years with the SAC Band, Marty transferred to the U.S. Air Force Academy Band, stationed in Colorado Springs, CO. The band was renamed “The USAF Band of the Rockies” for a while and moved across town to its new home at Peterson Air Force Base, then became the U.S. Air Force Academy Band once again. He spent 18 years there, playing saxophones and bass clarinet in the Concert Band, Marching Band, the “Moods In Blue” show band, and the jazz big band, called the “Falconaires.” While in Colorado Springs, Marty established his own group, called “Bighorn,” which was a 7-piece R&B band that did horn-enhanced covers of a lot of tunes from the 60s and 70s, in the style of the Blues Brothers, Tower of Power, etc. He also played in many other groups outside of the Air Force, bands that played a variety of styles from big band to country to blues to salsa, even playing a couple times with Grammy winner Delbert McClinton’s band.
Marty retired from the Air Force in 2005 after serving (and defending the country with his saxophone) for 22 years. He went back to college and earned his MBA in accounting. He worked as an accountant for a firm in Colorado Springs as his day job, but kept up his playing with Bighorn and other groups. He and his wife Brenda moved back to Minnesota in 2012, where they have a home in Melrose. Marty and Brenda have a son, Tony, who lives in Fargo. Marty is a credit analyst for Central Minnesota Credit Union in Melrose, but still manages to play his horns quite a bit. Besides filling in for whatever group plays in the Central Minnesota area and is in need of an accomplished sax player, he is in a trio called “The Cheese Bots” that he put together with a college buddy, guitarist Lindy Pederson, and guitar/bass player Jim LaRocque, and also a jazz quartet called “Components.” The Cheese Bots and Components can be seen and heard frequently at Sixth Avenue Wine and Ale in Alexandria.
Marty purchased most of his saxes and mouthpieces – at least, those he didn’t buy used from other pro players – from Sarlettes Music. He buys all of his supplies at Morris’ Friendly Neighborhood Music Store: reeds, instrument stands, stand lights, sound accessories, etc. And of course, Marty won’t let anyone but his brother Del do repairs on his saxophone arsenal.
Saxophones: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes all made by Yanagisawa. Mouthpieces: Strathon Ajustotone on alto (#7*), tenor (#8), & bari (#8), and a Selmer E (hard rubber) on soprano. Reeds: soprano – Rico Royal #2; tenor – Rico Jazz Select #2S; bari – Rico Royal #2½; alto – whatever works that day.