Oral History -

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Jay McShann ​was one of the last great original stride pianists, one of the last Big Band Era leaders and one of the few musicians to work with such an amazing list of jazz icons. During our interview with him he told some of the most memorable McShann classic stories such as when he was the first big band to hire Charlie Parker and the true story behind Parker’s nickname Bird. What put Jay in a class by himself was the warm way he told his stories and the humble approach he had toward what is without question one of the great jazz success stories in history.  

Robert McDowell was president of the NAMM Board of Directors from 1969-1971. During that time he assisted William Gard in the expansion of the NAMM organization, including more hands on involvement with AMC and its publication Music USA. As a retailer in St. Louis for Ludwig-Aeolian, Bob saw the need to launch a nationwide music promotion campaign in the early 1970s.

Kay McDowell now (and may always) holds the record for the most NAMM shows attended --83 in a row! As a very young girl, she accompanied her father, the owner of Ludwig Aeolian of St. Louis, Missouri, to the show. Years later, her husband, Bob, took over that business and a very active role in the industry (including NAMM President).

Ted Krumwiede was a veteran of the piano industry working for Kimball and Story & Clark in the important re-birth of the piano business following World War II. Ted had training and a real passion for marketing and found success telling the great stories of the companies we worked for. Ted was with the original Story & Clark Piano Co.

Ann Jones was interviewed alongside Dick Dolan, the president of QRS, a company known around the world for their piano rolls. As CFO, Ann has been with QRS since the 1980s. She has played an important roll in the expansion of QRS into DVD products for a new generation of player pianos.

Mickey Jent opened a small music store in Lubbock, Texas after World War II with her husband, Ray, after his return from military service. The store became a hub for local musicians including Buddy Holly.

Hal Harrower designed his first double neck instrument in 1987, a 6-string guitar and a 4-string bass. Using the Steinberger system, that first instrument built by Hal not only looked different, it sounded different and gained a reputation for its clean sound.

Dr. John Chowning is known throughout the world for his discovery of FM sound synthesis, which, when used in the context of electronic musical instruments, provided an alternative to the way synthesized music was being created.

AV (Bam) Bamford was a colorful country music producer originally from Cuba. During the mid-1930s, he owned and operated a string of radio stations, mostly in the southern United States. As a promoter of these stations, he often befriended performers who would perform live on the radio or at remote locations such as state fairs.

Robert and Willi Zildjian were interviewed together at the NAMM show in Anaheim on January 18, 2006, the year which marked the 25th anniversary of their cymbal company. SABIAN, whose name comes from the first two letters of the names of their three children, has since become synonymous with innovative products around the world.

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