Oral History -
Clifford Cooper has always liked the color orange. So, when it was time to market his amplifiers, which he created mostly for his own use and for friends, he decided to use his favorite color. The Orange amplifier products are not only unique in looks, but are also known by musicians for the clear and consistent sound. Mr.
Dick Contino had a series of hit recordings and popular television appearances in the 1950s playing his trusty accordion. By the end of that decade, he was hired by M. H. Berlin at Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) to introduce a string of innovative products. It was Dick who first introduced the Cordovox in the mid-60s, thanks to his friendship with Mr. Berlin.
Charles Connor was a pioneer in the early beat of rock and roll. As a drummer in New Orleans in the early 1950s, he played with Professor Longhair and became the original drummer for Little Richard. In fact, it was Little Richard who asked Connor if he could produce a rhythm that sounded like a train – and he did.
Joy Collins has had a successful career selling piano and organs! In fact she may very well be the person who has sold the most Allen Organs, ever. Joy was hired by Glenn Davis, who owned a piano and organ store in Chicago, as a secretary but soon discovered selling was in her blood.
Buddy Collette changed music in more than one way. As a noted reed man, he played jazz along some of the greatest players in history including his boyhood friend, Charlie Mingus. Buddy was instrumental in the birth of the Los Angeles jazz scene.
Martin Cohen loves drums and he loves drummers, but as we learned in our interview with him, he loves making drums for drummers even more! His impressive innovations and forward thinking business plan were nearly as impressive as the market he created with Latin Percussion Corp.
Billy Cobham is the acclaimed drummer who was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Mike Clark helped established the funk-based drumming sound that emerged out of Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and 70s. In fact, his “The Funk Stops Here” was used for a radio ad before he recorded it with Herbie Hancock, as an original member of the Head Hunters.
Harvey Citron is one of the industry’s best-known and respected guitar luithers. Since a young age he has played the guitar and always seemed to have the ideas of changing the instrument to create unique sounds. He has designed some of the most innovative guitars of his time, such as those including novel materials such as plastics and fiberglass.
Kenny Chilton was deeply passionate about the electric organ. While working at a piano and organ retail store in the Los Angeles area in the late 1960s, Kenny was approached by a research team working with the Mattel Toy Company. After answering a series of questions over several days he was asked if he would be interested in helping the toy company design and produce a low end organ instrument. Kenny headed the sales efforts for the Optigan, which was produced between 1971 and 1976.