Musical Director

Larry Blank was greatly influenced by attending Broadway musicals with his parents as a kid. As a result he studied drama yet realized he wanted to be a musician. Larry played piano growing up and as a teenager had opportunities to perform for small musical shows. Word soon spread of his abilities...
Harold Wheeler remembers standing in front of the large orchestra about to raise his hands to conduct when it hit him - "I am at the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics!" That epic moment was one of many highlights in a diverse career that included being a studio musician (he was a member of...
Jonathan Tunick’s impressive career began with taking piano lessons as a kid and later learning the clarinet and saxophone. Attending LaGuardia Performing Arts High School and working with his teacher and theater director Joseph Adler helped propel his talents into a career. While working on...
Tony Newton was nicknamed “Baby Funk Brother” by the original studio musicians at Motown Records where he began working in 1964. His first session with the Funk Brothers was the song “Baby Love” by the Supremes, which was released on the album Where Did Our Love Go. Tony’s long career in music took...
Sylvester Rivers has applied his musical talents to thousands of hit recordings over the years as well as music for television and motion pictures. His list of credits includes several categories as pianist, arranger, and musical director. The list of iconic performers he has worked with is just as...
John Altman, the world-renowned composer, grew up in a musically rich family and found his own passion for music at an very young age. His uncles (Woolf and Sid Phillips) were successful arrangers, bandleaders and conductors and his cousin Simon Phillips is best known as the drummer for Toto. John...
Rey Sanchez is a professor and the Associate Dean for the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami - one of the leading schools for music business programs. This special focus has allowed Rey to build many strong relationships within the music products industry, which has ultimately served...
Steve Gibson repeated, “I’ve been blessed,” which acted as a recurring theme throughout his NAMM Oral History interview. The sentiment comes from a review of his extraordinary career as a studio musician, producer, and musical director based in Nashville. At 19 years old, in the early 1970s, he...
Andre Jacquemin remembers the day he was asked to engineer some comedy records for a young group of writers in London. He thought, who will want a record with only jokes? That group of writers became the nucleus of Monty Python and, over the years, Andre became their musical director. For over...
Nate Watts grew up in Detroit, Michigan when Motown was in full swing, and it proved to be a major inspiration for the bass legend. In 1974 Nate was summoned by Stevie Wonder to join his band and his first recording session with Stevie was on the classic album Songs In The Key of Life. Nate has...

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