Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Jerry Blavat was a DJ and radio broadcaster with a lot of energy! Also known as “The Geator with the Heater” and “The Big Boss with the Hot Sauce,” Jerry started his career on the original American Bandstand TV Show in the 1950s.

JW Jenkins was president of the large music store chain in and around Kansas City that his great grand father first opened in 1878. His father, Paul W.

Martin Konig’s father, Karl, partnered with Erich Meyer in 1949 to create a wholesale business in which their first products were music stands.

Don Lewis was trained as an electronic engineer and, because of his love for music, he created one of the very early integrated-sound controllers, a precursor to MIDI.

Jerry Bongard has enjoyed playing music since he was a kid. Along the way he has become eloquent in his explanation of the benefits of music making and the passion music can add to your life.

Ray Edenton played guitar on hundreds of recordings as part of the famed Nashville studio band known as the A Team.   He grew up in a musical family with his grandfather playing fiddle and being encouraged to play music at a young age.  In fact, he was performing in front of audi

Marty Sheller was the award winning arranger and jazz trumpeter whose musical skills can be heard on hundreds of recordings. He worked with Mongo Santamaria for many years (yes, that is Marty taking the trumpet solo on “Watermelon Man”) beginning in 1961.

Ramsey Lewis had a monster hit record with his jazz version of "The In Crowd." The song, which is considered to be the quintessential instrumental jazz hit of the 60s, led to a series of other recordings including sessions with Earth, Wind & Fire. Ramsey began playing organ a

Bill Larson served as a band director for over 35 years in Montana.  When he needed the support from a music store to service his bands, he called on Eckroth Music in Bismarck, ND.

Joey DeFrancesco has single handedly brought back the popularity of the Hammond B-3, beginning in the 1990s. Joey’s soulful approach echoes his heroes of the past such as Jimmy Smith, whom he recorded with in 2005. Joey has also brought the organ style up-to-date to be played smoothly in jazz. Under Suzuki the B-3 was put back in production in 2004 and with Joey’s promotion both as an endorsee and performer the instrument is once again playing a role in modern music.