Frederick Alfred Martin was an American bandleader and tenor saxophonist.
Martin was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Raised largely in an orphanage and with various relatives, Martin started out playing drums, then switched to C-melody saxophone and later tenor saxophone, the latter the one he would be identified with. Early on, he had intended to become a journalist. He had hoped that he would earn enough money from his musical work to enter Ohio State, but instead, he wound up becoming an accomplished musician. Martin led his own band while he was in high school, then played in various local bands. After working on a ship's band, Martin joined the Mason-Dixon band, then joined Arnold Johnson and Jack Albin. It was with Albin's "Hotel Pennsylvania Music" that he made his first recordings, for Columbia's Harmony, Velvet Tone, and Clarion 50 cent labels in 1930.
After a couple of years, his skill began attracting other musicians. One such musician was Guy Lombardo, who would remain friends with Martin throughout his life. There is a story about Lombardo and Martin. After graduation from high school, Martin accepted a job at the H.N. White musical instrument company. When Lombardo was playing in Cleveland, Martin tried giving Lombardo some saxophones, which proved unsuccessful. Fortunately, Lombardo did get to hear Freddy?s band. One night, when Guy could not do a certain date, he suggested that Freddy?s band could fill in for him. The band did very well and that?s how Martin?s career really got started. But the band broke up and he did not form a permanent band until 1931 at the Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn.
At the Bossert Marine Room, Freddy pioneered the "Tenor Band" style that swept the sweet-music industry. With his own tenor sax as melodic lead, Martin fronted an all-tenor sax section with just two brasses and a violin trio plus rhythm. The rich, lilting style quickly spawned imitators in hotels and ballrooms nationwide. "Tenor bands", usually with just the three tenors and one trumpet, could occasionally be found playing for older dancers well into the 1980s.