Oral History -

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Akira Komaki recalled the early days of his grandfather’s career as a Japanese retailer. Akira took over the company from his father, the eldest son of his grandfather. Komaki Music opened its doors in 1931 and has since become a part of the Tokyo landscape.

Barrie Kolstein has proudly followed in his father’s footsteps as a noted authority, builder and restorer of fretted musical instruments. His father was an expert repairman and bow maker who opened Samuel Kolstein & Son Ltd. in 1943. Barrie grew up close by his father’s side watching his father work. After music studies that included bass lessons from Fred Zimmerman, Barrie returned to the shop to work along side his father.

Fritz Kollitz was an expert on woods used for musical instruments and gained an international reputation for his knowledge and service to violin and guitar luthiers alike.

Stan Kitchen, along with his late wife Shirley, were the co-owners and founders of Studio Music. This music publishing company was established in 1957 in London and has grown over the years to include a special method of engraving that Stan developed in the days before the musical typewriter.

Mildred Kirschner was simply known as Millie around the NAMM headquarters office where she was hired in 1946. The Chicago based association was being run by Mr. Mills when a heart condition forced him to retire. A young William Gard became the next leader of NAMM who has since become a legend in the industry. Millie spoke of her role as office manager and the caring way Mr.

Don Kirkendall was hired by Electro Voice founder Al Kahn to serve as the company’s advertisement manager in 1954. Don’s creative approach to the company’s line of speakers and microphones earned him several industry awards and increased sales annually for 3 decades in a row. Among the most noted campaigns was for the Buchanan 644 microphone, which gained a reputation for its solid body and durable sound.

John King is among the most noted cymbal testers in the business. Working alongside Armand Zildjian in the factory in Massachusetts. John learned the fine skills of a tester and worked with Tony Williams, Buddy Rich, and other top players. John, a Product Communications Manager, has also become a historian at Zildjian. In his interview, he provided great detail regarding some of the traditions of the company.

B.B. King spoke of his great love of music making and provided sound advice for those who want to play an instrument. He smiled as he recalled buying his first guitar amplifier and spoke with a warm voice when reflecting on his greatest musical influences. BB's NAMM Oral History interview was a time for him to reflect on his early instruments and the music stores he visited during his life and career as one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time. We ended the interview with his statement, "Hi, I'm B.B. King and I believe in music."

Lauren Keiser  was a passionate music publisher. He worked with many of the top publishing companies over his long and distinguished career including Alfred, Cherry Lane, Carl Fischer and his own firm the Keiser Music Publishing Company. In 2012 he purchased Southern Music and renamed the company Keiser Southern Music, where he worked long and hard to create new products taking advantage of developments in technology. 

Fred Kalisky became enamored with the maracas on his very first trip to Mexico City and realized it was an instrument that could be successful in the Canadian market (his home since relocating from his native Poland after World War II). The same year, 1957, he formed his wholesale business and called it the Efkay Music Group. The company soon expanded following the Beatles boom of the early 1960s with Fred’s sharp idea to import electric guitars from Japan.

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