Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Vinnie Bell was a studio musician in New York who often was asked to create new and unique sounds. As a luthier, Vinnie built several innovative guitars including one tuned like a sitar. His efforts were recognized by the Danelectro Guitar Company who hired Vinnie to help design

Karl Hirano was an electronic engineer for Yamaha in Japan during the great MIDI boom of the early 1980s.

Bob Hale had a long and successful career as an engineer and was able to devote his retirement time to his passion for music as a docent at the NAMM Foundation’s Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA.

Joachim Schneider proudly continues in the family tradition of hand crafted instrument making. His great grandfather was a violin builder as was his grandfather. His grandfather and father also became guitar luthiers.

Jimmy Johnson was a co-founder of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama along with fellow studio musicians Roger Hawkins, Barry Beckett and David Hood.

Donnie Fritts was born in Florence, Alabama, the right place at the right time to grow up to become a studio musician and songwriter.  Just a little way down the road from where Donnie grew up was the epicenter of the Muscle Shoals Sound –and Donnie was there, front and center! 

Clora Bryant was billed as the female Louie Armstrong in the era of the Ed Sullivan variety show. Her raspy-voiced imitations were a big favorite among viewers but the gimmick often over- shadowed her incredible talents as a trumpeter.

Jack Martin was a leading piano sales rep for Wurlitzer from 1959 until 1963. Although he spent most of his career in the music industry it was those four years that Jack cherishes the most.

Larry Taylor joined the rock/blues band Canned Heat in 1967 just before the band’s string of hit recordings. The gig came after nearly 6 years as a recording artist playing both guitar and bass.

Aspen Pittman grew up in the 1960s as a student of the folk music movement. He studied the art form and performed on every type of string instrument there was to play.

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