Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Jesse Flores was the founder of Flores Music stores located in Peoria and Pekin, Illinois. He had the idea of surrounding himself with music when he was a young boy and when the chance came to open a store, he took it. The year was 1957.

James Cotton learned the blues from many of the greatest artists in recorded history! As a result his style of playing is our link to the early development of the music form, especially those influences in the years following World War II.

Lyle Ritz worked for a Los Angeles music store in the 1950s when his career as a studio musician began to take off. Lyle’s studio years were filled with numerous ground-breaking hits, many featuring his influential electric bass. His incredible list of recordings includes “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher and the Beach Boys “Good Vibrations.” In the 1980s, Lyle returned to his first musical love, the ukulele, thanks to the urging of Flea Market Music founder and ukulele historian Jim Beloff.

Wally Pikal may have been the only music retailers who played on the Johnny Carson Show!  Wally opened his store, Wally Pikal Music, in Hutchinson, Minnesota in 1964.  Up to that time he had been a sought-after bandleader and trumpeter in and around the Midwest.  One of his trick

Les Ray was a well spoken advocate for music education. As the founder of ASM Music Schools in Florida, he created a respected educational program that includes some 2,500 students each week. He had strong feelings about the importance of the process in learning to play a musical instrument. Mr. Ray ensured that all children were given the chance to participate and designed programs for those children with special needs. One of the strongest elements of his program, which continue since his passing, is that all children have a private lesson as well as a group lesson to ensure they are provided the elements of playing together, making friends, and having fun.  

Larry Coryell enjoyed a long career as a jazz guitarist. In addition to touring and recording on his own, Larry worked with some of the greatest names in jazz. Over the years he developed his own method of playing, and wrote a series of teaching books and DVDs.

Josef Lausman proudly followed in his family’s footsteps. In the small German village of Nauheim (near Frankfurt) he made mouthpieces, primarily for trumpets and trombones for many years until his retirement.

Willi Zildjian has made many lasting contributions to the SABIAN Cymbal Company, which she formed along with her husband Bob back in 1981. However, her most noted is the naming of the company.

Curt Carter was in the right place at the right time. As a piano dealer, he watched the boom of the home market explode during the late 1960s and 70s. He pooled his resources, teamed with organ suppliers and established Organ Exchange.

Elliott Rubinson fell in love with the bass at the age of 12 and played it every waking moment as he grew up in Queens, New York, in the rock era of the 1960s.