Oral History -
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.
Bill Lawrence was known for his pick-up design and his long career as a German based guitarist. In fact, when visiting the Framus Museum in Markneukirchen Germany, you can learn of his influential musical career when he was known as Billy Lorento. Always interested in electronics, he applied his two interests and soon developed his own pick-up for the guitar.
Dan Kobida was first interviewed for the NAMM Oral History program back in 2004 during the Wurlitzer company reunion in Oak Brook, Illinois. Dan was not only a respected former employee of the now defunct company but also a key player in the organization of the reunion, which was as much of a family get-together as ever there was. We were able to sit down with Dan again in 2006 on the 20th anniversary of his own company, Ancott, which publishes sales, trends and changes in the piano business.