Oral History -
Shiro Arai is the founder of Aria Guitars, a Japanese electric guitar company that gained great international success in the wake of the Beatles invasion—both in America and (as some of us may forget) Japan. Mr. Arai was an early pioneer of Japanese/American commerce, developing one dealer base that represented both countries. When Mr.
R.C. Allen was a guitar luthier that used the style of his many friends of the era in the early 1950s in Southern California when guitar innovators were reshaping the instrument and grooming it for a new birth. RC was building his own unique instruments when Leo Fender and Lowell Kiesel of Carvin were also just starting out.
Van Alexander co-wrote “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” with Ella Fitzgerald while both worked in the Chick Webb Orchestra back in 1938. The success of that song led to a job as arranger for Webb as well as Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman and super stardom for Ella. Van formed his own band during the wonderful swing era but gave it up to work in the movies when Bing Crosby offered him a job in 1948.
Henry Adler helped define the percussion industry with his music publishing company, drum shop and method books. His amazing life in music began as a drummer during the big band era. His many gigs and one nighters gained the attention of a friend who encouraged Henry to open a drum studio and music studio in the heart of New York City. The Henry Adler Music Store near Time S
Hawley Ades was hired by Irving Berlin in 1932 to assist the legendary American songwriter with musical arrangements. Hawley stayed with Berlin for five years before being hired by choir master and bandleader Fred Waring. He joined Mr.
Solomon Burke’s amazing career in music included a number of important landmarks! His early recordings, which combined gospel and the blues, have become important and influential material for generations of soul singers.
Steve Porcaro vividly recalls watching the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan television program in February 1964 and having the sense that his life would never be the same. After forming several bands with his now famous brothers, Steve became a member of the band Toto, playing keyboards and writing several important songs for the group over the years.
George Petersen has a very interesting perspective on the music products industry. As editor of MIX magazine, George has not only written about the changes in the industry, he has been front and center as an expert witness to such developments as home recordings, MIDI and the Internet. As a writer he has a talent for expression and can relate product demands and the social settings that played key factors in product popularity. Since 2002, George has been a strong supporter of the NAMM Oral History program, our archival program
Jerome Murphy III, the vice president of M. Steinert & Son’s piano dealer in Boston, provided insightful stories on the rich history of Steinert’s musical history. Jerome told of Morris Steinert’s first store, which opened a few years after he emigrated from Bavaria to Savannah in the 1860s.
Airto Moreira has gained international recognition as one of the world’s leading Latin percussionists. He has introduced an innovative approach to playing percussion as well as teaching clinics.