Oral History -

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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.

Donald Kahn recalled the moment he first realized he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a songwriter. It was as a five-year old child playing under his father’s piano as he composed.

Al Kahn, the founder of Electro Voice and the inventor of several important microphone models told a great story on how his company got its name. Mr. Kahn was an industry pioneer and an early supporter of AMC and a NAMM member since the year after the company was formed in 1932! When Mr.

Carol Jones-Zadel has introduced new organs and keyboard products to music dealers around the world for over 30 years. Her sharp technical abilities made her a favorite with manufactures and her warm, down-to-Earth personality made her among the most requested product artists in the industry.

Marvin Jones is the founding editor of Polyphony, an early and important magazine covering the growth and development of the synthesizer industry and its many innovators and leaders. Marvin talked of his wonderful background in music, going back to his father who was a designer and creator of musical instruments who showed his son that creating a sound was more than just playing an instrument, it was crafting an instrument that could make different sounds.

Ray Johnson can be heard playing the rhythmic piano parts on such classics as "Traveling Man" by Ricky Nelson and "Rambling Rose" by Nat "King" Cole. After several sessions with his brother, sax man Plas Johnson, Ray recorded several sides with soul singer Sam Cooke. Ray provided great insight on his own career, placing his main inspiration on his mother.