Oral History -
Joe Chambers was inspired by his older brother George to play guitar and write songs. The brothers, Joe, George, Willie and Lester, formed The Chambers Brothers and began singing gospel music. They went on to perform in clubs, folk festivals and large concert venues after adding songs with rock, jazz and funk flavors.
Dennis Dreith was inspired and encouraged by several music teachers and professors during the early part of his education. A few of his college professors made special accommodations so that Dennis could gain his class credits while touring with bands.
Chris Montez recorded a number of hit records including “Let’s Dance” in 1962 followed by “Call Me” and “There Will Never be Another You.” He also scored an international hit with “Cartas de Amor,” which Chris sang in Spanish.
Billy Hart was born in Washington DC, where he was exposed to the drums at a young age. He worked with several R&B groups before landing an important gig with the jazz singer Shirley Horn, who taught Billy the fundamentals of working with a soloist. In the mid 1960s Billy performed with Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith followed by a four-year gig with Herbie Hancock.
Eddie Henderson is a medical doctor who found himself in high demand by some of the legends of jazz. His mother was a dancer at the Cotton Club in New York and had the connection to introduce young Eddie to Louis Armstrong. Louis provided Eddie with his first trumpet lesson and was a great source of inspiration.
George Cables was classically trained on the piano having studied at the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan and at Mannes College. During his training he never considered a life in jazz but that all changed once he had the opportunity to performer with the likes of Art Blakey and Freddie Hubbard.
Cecil McBee studied clarinet in elementary school and was inspired by the encouragement of his band director. He knew from that young age that he wanted a career in music. When he was a teenager he switched to bass and began playing at local clubs and parties.
Dave Nicholas was just four years old when he began playing a piano that was left in their new house when they moved in the 1930s. The previous owner had purchased the piano on monthly payments and Dave’s father decided to take over the payments while arranging lessons for young Dave.
Sebastian Mariné was encouraged to pursue music by his parents. The roots of his passion for music go back to when he was a small child singing Gregorian Chants in his family’s church in Spain. Music has always been a spiritual expression for him, something he conveys to his students at the Conservatory of Music in Madrid where he teaches.
Suzi Quatro was six years old when she saw Elvis Presley perform on the Ed Sullivan Show and had what she calls her “lightbulb moment,” knowing that was what she was going to do with her life. She started playing bass at 14 when her sisters formed an all-female garage band called The Pleasure Seekers.