Oral History -
George Cables was classically trained on the piano having studied at the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan and at Mannes College. During his training he never considered a life in jazz but that all changed once he had the opportunity to performer with the likes of Art Blakey and Freddie Hubbard.
Cecil McBee studied clarinet in elementary school and was inspired by the encouragement of his band director. He knew from that young age that he wanted a career in music. When he was a teenager he switched to bass and began playing at local clubs and parties.
Dave Nicholas was just four years old when he began playing a piano that was left in their new house when they moved in the 1930s. The previous owner had purchased the piano on monthly payments and Dave’s father decided to take over the payments while arranging lessons for young Dave.
Sebastian Mariné was encouraged to pursue music by his parents. The roots of his passion for music go back to when he was a small child singing Gregorian Chants in his family’s church in Spain. Music has always been a spiritual expression for him, something he conveys to his students at the Conservatory of Music in Madrid where he teaches.
Suzi Quatro was six years old when she saw Elvis Presley perform on the Ed Sullivan Show and had what she calls her “lightbulb moment,” knowing that was what she was going to do with her life. She started playing bass at 14 when her sisters formed an all-female garage band called The Pleasure Seekers.
Harry Gillum was interviewed for the NAMM Oral History program during the Stay-At-Home Orders for Covid-19 in June 2020. His interview was recorded on Zoom and captured his remarkable career in music retail and his contributions to our industry. Harry was just 16 years old in 1971, when he began working at a local music store.
Manel Punti is the Managing Director of Music Distribution, a wholesale business in Spain that his father established in the 1960s. Manel grew up in the music industry as well as a musical family. His father played the piano and encouraged his children (and later his grandchildren) to play an instrument. Manel played the flute and later the organ and piano.
Antoni Punti and Gabriel teamed up with Keith Mardak in 1972 to form Hal Leonard Spain. The company’s success was fueled by the home organ boom, which was an important milestone of growth for the music industry in Spain. Years before, Antoni was the first person to establish Hammond Organ Studios in Spain and became Managing Director for the famous organ company in 1968.
Juan Grecos is the president of Amigos de la Guitarra de Valencia and has served in that position since 2004. The organization is dedicated to showcasing the Spanish classical guitar and more recently flamenco guitar and other related instruments of Spain by presenting concerts at a number of venues and events.
Yuji Tanaka is a Senior Executive Officer for Roland Corporation who has enjoyed a successful career in the music products industry. Yuji provided detail about how and why he came to work in the industry during his NAMM interview.