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Marty’s first instrument was snare drum which he took up at age 10, and even though he switched to trumpet a year later, his love of percussion has played a major role in his career. He attended South Side High School in Newark, NJ and in 1957 he began college at Columbia University in New York City where he met fellow student and pianist Myron Schwartzman who introduced him to another student at the school, alto saxophonist Bobby Porcelli. They have all remained close friends since those days, when Sheller and Porcelli could be heard practicing Charlie Parker–Dizzy Gillespie unison lines in Marty’s dorm room. Marty made his professional debut in 1958, playing a summer gig with Porcelli, Schwartzman, and drummer Wilbur Bailey at the Woodbine Hotel in the Catskill Mountains