Oral History -
Dave Mason was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 as the guitarist for Traffic. His influential playing was only matched by his talents as a songwriter. He wrote a number of songs for the band as well as for others, including Joe Cocker’s first hit recording, “Feelin’ Alright.” Dave has co-designed an innovative electric guitar along with Ravi Sawhney.
Frank Luppino Jr. wrote for Billboard Magazine in the 1940s when the noted publication dedicated a segment to the music products industry and an annual NAMM issue. He oversaw the NAMM issue, which covered the recording industry, as well as electrical products such as washing machines and refrigerators.
Mundell Lowe is deservedly listed in just about every jazz encyclopedia. With a powerful, yet relaxed, approach to his playing, Mundell helped revolutionize the jazz guitar sound in bebop and modern jazz. Pioneering the concept of playing solo on the instrument rather then using the guitar merely in the rhythm section, Mundell became one of jazz guitar’s greatest stars.
Joan Flintoff LoPear joined the Southern California chapter of the Music Library Association (MLA) in 1967 just as the organization and the field of music librarians were recreating themselves in a new age of music. Joan helped in establishing the standard codes now used in music cataloging and has since provided several lectures and research papers on the topic.
Don Lewis was trained as an electronic engineer and, because of his love for music, he created one of the very early integrated-sound controllers, a precursor to MIDI. In the early 1970s when many electronic musical instruments such as synthesizers were being introduced, performers such as Don found it difficult to access all of the sounds they wanted in a given performance.
Don Leslie, the inventor of the very successful Leslie Speaker, was pleased with the concept of the product that was a simple idea but a tricky design. As a child, Don was fascinated by the large pipe organs and how the sound traveled all around the listener. He had the goal of bringing that experience into the home.
George Lemus opened a music store in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico in the late 1950s and named it M. Haus Lemus. He focused on building a family business with consistent and quality customer service. Over the years he helped increase the piano market within Mexico and became one of the country’s largest dealers. As the company grew so did his family and one by one his children grew into the business along with his wife who was with Mr. Lemus from the beginning. Mr.
Pete LaPlaca is a well respected industry leader who has added his great musical passion to the creation, development and marketing of musical products going back to the 1960s. Pete was a leading sales manager for a number of companies during his career, among them G. Leblanc, F. E. Olds and Gibson Guitars.
Joan Kramer was just out of high school when she was hired to do some office work at the NAMM headquarters building in Chicago. The year was 1947, a very important time in the industry’s history and NAMM’s own history. The association’s doors had been closed for two years during the war, affected by the shift to war needs as were many of its members.
Herman Knoll led the team that wrote and designed the landmark Hal Leonard publication Essential Elements. This series of method books has redefined the way students and teachers approach the early stages of music education. This is one of countless products Herman has helped develop since joining Hal Leonard in the early 1980s.