During his decade-plus stint as the lead trumpeter in the legendary big bands of Stan Kenton, Buddy Childers was the indomitable warhorse anchoring some of the most progressive and physically demanding arrangements in all of jazz. Born Marion Childers in St. Louis on February 12, 1926, he began playing trumpet at 12. Within two years he was gigging as a professional musician, and his talent was so prodigious that he joined Kenton at just 16. Months later, when Kenton terminated the Artistry in Rhythm Orchestra's three other trumpeters, Childers immediately vaulted to the lead position, a role he would briefly relinquish in 1944 during an injury-shortened tenure in the U.S. Army. In all, Childers exited the Kenton lineup no fewer than eight times over his dozen-year tenure, no doubt a result of the extraordinary physical challenges of playing the band's music -- Kenton demanded that his trumpeters play so loud that many who passed through the orchestra's ranks passed out in the middle of performances, and Childers and bandmate Al Porcino regularly took the stage wearing abdominal supports.