Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Bernie Vance played the saxophone in a number of big bands during the swing era. He was drafted and served during World War II, only to come home and find that musical tastes had changed. The big band era was over so Bernie turned to what he knew best, his horn. If he couldn’t play it for a living, he would teach and sell. In 1946, the Vance Music Store opened in Bloomington, IN. However, the first year was a difficult one for the store (like so many others in his same situation). Bernie needed to learn about overhead and taxes, which he learned fast.

Al Kahn, the founder of Electro Voice and the inventor of several important microphone models told a great story on how his company got its name. Mr. Kahn was an industry pioneer and an early supporter of AMC and a NAMM member since the year after the company was formed in 1932!

Jimmy Martin came to the door the day of his interview in nothing but his boxers. He exclaimed, “Was that today!? Well, come on in, let me go get my teeth” and so started one of the most entertaining interviews of our collection.

Dr. Robert Freeland was among this country’s first to earn a PhD in music librarianship. He worked for the Henry Ford Library and was noted for his national column on classic recording reviews. Dr.

Martin Denny cornered the market on the musical style of the early 1950s known as exotica. The smooth melody of the songs were enhanced by hundreds of different tropical sounding instruments, jungle noises and the call of birds. Martin began his musical career as a composer and piano playing bandleader in the era of the swing bands. He was booked for a 3-week engagement in Hawaii where he developed the idea of creating "mood music" for the island.

Murray Davison was a trumpet player who had a few gigs during the Big Band Era, but had to get a day job after the war. While he became a successful businessman, music was never far away.

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Artie Shaw was among the most popular band leaders during the great Big Band Era of the 1930s and 40s!

T. Warren Brown was president of the music store his father established in the Tacoma, Washington area in the years of World War II. Ted Brown Music became an important leader in the music retail business with Warren playing key roles in the expansion of the store.

Jimmy Saied, the founder of the Saied Music Store chain in Oklahoma loved the marches of John Phillip Sousa!

 Robert Perine was raised in Los Angeles in a very artsy family.  At the age of six, his father drew his portrait and asked young Bob to do the same.

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