Pryor, Arthur Willard
- James M. Burk
Pryor, Arthur Willard (22 September 1870–18 June 1942), virtuoso trombonist, conductor, and composer, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, the son of Samuel Daniel Pryor, a bandleader, and Mary “Mollie” A. Coker, a pianist. Beginning his musical study as early as age six, Pryor studied piano, violin, string bass, cornet, alto horn, and valve trombone. By age eleven he was quite accomplished on the latter instrument, playing solos with his father’s band. At fifteen he taught himself to play the slide trombone utilizing only two positions instead of the usual seven. Later in his career, to his advantage, he used this technique of playing some notes in “false” or “wrong” positions, developing a facility that is often considered the greatest of all time; he also developed a technique for playing chords (multiphonics)....