Audio Only Interviews
It is a special day for the NAMM Oral History collection and for me personally! Thanks to my amazing staff of Elizabeth Dale and Mike Mullens, and our volunteer Suzanne Glasnapp, we have completed a task that has been in the works for several years. Today, the last of the interviews I completed in my radio days, before working at NAMM, have been donated, digitized, and included within the NAMM collection. This means that every interview I have captured since I was 15 years old is all in this library archive, all 4,000 plus!
In addition to these radio interviews being important because of their content and historic value, the lessons I learned as an interviewer from each one have been key in the development of my career and the foundation of how we now gather these stories. For example, I listen to the interview with Lena Horne and recall that I learned to pay close attention to what they are saying versus what I want to ask next. The lesson I took from Billy Butterfield was to take the time to make them feel relaxed and at ease. I joyfully learned from Milton DeLugg, Milt Hinton, Jonah Jones, Dick Jurgens, and Specs Powell that an interview can lead to a friendship! Helen Forrest taught me to always remember the trust they put in me while editing and sharing the content of their interview. I learned from Raymond Scott that life is unpredictable and we must enjoy each and every moment we are given. Kenny Davern showed me the importance of expressing sincere respectfulness. I learned from Burton Lane the coolness of the concept Six Degrees of Separation (he knew George Gershwin!). Trummy Young helped teach me that I have a responsibility to make their stories known. I also learned from Trummy that I love conducting interviews with my musical heroes! I learned from all of them that by having a passion for history and wanting to archive their stories, I too have a place in music.
Special thanks to NAMM (staff, board, and members), to our friends at Downbeat for the use of their vintage photograph collection and to all those who helped me contact and arrange the interviews over the years. It has taken a very large and dedicated team to make it this far!
I am grateful to all who helped with this process and I dedicate this moment to all those who graciously taught me the art of interviewing by agreeing to talk with me. These are my roots and I am blessed that each and every interview I have conducted are all in this wonderful and amazing collection!
Explore and enjoy!
Dan Del Fiorentino
NAMM Music Historian
October 1, 2018