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  • Writer's pictureJAM

Trent Austin Joins Kansas City Jazz Orchestra

It can take decades to find the right place to live. For veteran trumpeter Trent Austin, the newest member of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, says Kansas City is a comfort to his soul.

Trent was born in Massachusetts and his parents moved to a town near Bangor, Maine when he was just three years old. “I was very lucky. I had great teachers that were trumpet players,” said Trent. “Anyone who is a middle school band director is a hero.”That nurturing led to his initial love of jazz.

With a scholarship to the University of New Hampshire, Trent was able to then spend some quality time in New York and another 20 years in Boston. His wife, Laurie is originally from Lawrence, KS. When she was offered a job with the Truman Library, they felt that it was an invitation to check out Kansas City.

“It’s hard not to love a city where everybody is nice,” said Trent. “It’s hard not to love a city with (almost) no traffic, where the pace of life is slower and more relaxed than in Boston or New York.”

Trent moved his business to Kansas City. Austin Custom Brass was opened in Kansas City in the spring of 2018. They are located at 7000 Universal Avenue. As much as he loves playing the trumpet, the inner workings of the instrument have always been a passion of his.“I have always been a gear head,” Trent said, “In high school, I dropped my metal mouthpiece and my dad, and I made one on a metal lathe in the garage.”

Trent admits that he is a trumpet geek. A happy kind of guy that is thankful for each day. His business is primarily online sales, surviving the COVID months Austin Custom Brass is going strong today. He’s been active on the scene playing his horn in a variety of settings and making other folks happy while meeting new friends and operating a thriving business.

Trent’s musical hero was trumpeter Clark Terry. They met when Trent was a sophomore in high school. He was invited to play at Clark’s jazz camp, but he had to decline because his family couldn’t afford the trip.

Clark told him to simply go to the airport on an appointed day and he would take care of the rest. “That’s the reason Clark Terry is not only a trumpet hero, but the greatest person that I ever met,” said Trent. “He was my biggest mentor and to this day every note I play is for Clark Terry.”

“I haven’t played with a musician In Kansas City that I wouldn’t want to play with again,” said Trent. “Kansas City is a cosmopolitan city, and it has such a great music scene.”

On the business of jazz he confides, “Our primary role is as entertainers. When someone leaves that concert, they should be smiling,” said Trent. “That’s a vitally important thing that Clark Terry taught me when I was very young.”

—Joe Dimino

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