Library - In Memoriam
Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.
Claude Watson was a precise and revered luthier who perfected the fine art of handcrafted instrument building. He was known for his clever design and complex inlay work in country-style flat tops and a series of violins, cellos, and string basses.
Billy May was a fun loving trumpeter who arranged some of the best-loved music of the Big Band Era! His humor and musical talents provided hit recordings for Glenn Miller, Charlie Barnet and Frank Sinatra, to name but three.
Del Roper performed the xylophone for several society big bands, playing on radio with Xavier Cugat in the early 1930s. Del was later a powerful force in studio orchestras and developed a double decker xylophone, which he played on several variety TV programs in the 1950s.
Charles Hale had an idea to hire a monkey to show how an easy-play organ could be operated by anyone. The hysterically funny ads were one of a million clever ideas Hale used in selling keyboard instruments.
Speedy West was inducted into the Pedal Steel Guitar Hall of Fame as one of the instrument’s most innovative performers. He was able to apply his unique style to country, jazz, and popular music.
Harold Winkler was raised in the music publishing industry. His father, Max Winkler, worked his way up from stock boy at Carl Fischer to be president of famed Belwin Music Publishing Company in New York. As a strong supporter of the emerging school music market following World War II, Harold became a founder of NASMD National Association of School Music Dealers. In 1951 Winkler and his wife, Luverne, formed Harlu Music, a specialized school music retailer that would later venture out into school music publishing.
Chubby Jackson was the 1947 Down Beat magazine’s reader poll winner for the best bassist of the year. When the Kay Music Company of Chicago told Chubby that they would be presenting him with a new bass to mark the occasion, Chubby had one request – add a fifth string.
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Johnny Best started off learning the piano but switched to trumpet when he was 13.
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Hal Pruden was a noted pianist (sometimes billed as the world’s fastest piano player) for a series of bandleaders during the Big Band Era.
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Lionel Hampton helped bring the vibraphone to jazz with a series of important recordings and a long career as a musician and bandleader.