Library - In Memoriam
Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.
Henry Heller recalled with detail his father’s idea of moving the Aeolian Piano Company’s manufacturing plant from New York to Memphis. During the months of the move in the early 1950s, his father suffered a heart attack and died.
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Barney Kessel was a well-respected and sought-after studio musician who became part of the famed “Wrecking Crew.” He was also an innovative jazz technician who inspired
Jimmie D. Webb operated a small music shop in Antioch, California, which was also the headquarters for his amplifier business. The Webb Amps were widely used by electric blues and rock bands, mostly in San Francisco beginning in the early 1970s.
Alvino Rey tinkered with putting a phonograph pickup in his banjo to increase the volume in 1927. His inventive mind also led to early guitar pickups and the design of a pedal-steel guitar.
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Walter Perkins was an energetic jazz drummer who provided solid beats for performers such as Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, and Lucky Thompson. His care
Claude Watson was a precise and revered luthier who perfected the fine art of handcrafted instrument building. He was known for his clever design and complex inlay work in country-style flat tops and a series of violins, cellos, and string basses.
Billy May was a fun loving trumpeter who arranged some of the best-loved music of the Big Band Era! His humor and musical talents provided hit recordings for Glenn Miller, Charlie Barnet and Frank Sinatra, to name but three.
Del Roper performed the xylophone for several society big bands, playing on radio with Xavier Cugat in the early 1930s. Del was later a powerful force in studio orchestras and developed a double decker xylophone, which he played on several variety TV programs in the 1950s.
Charles Hale had an idea to hire a monkey to show how an easy-play organ could be operated by anyone. The hysterically funny ads were one of a million clever ideas Hale used in selling keyboard instruments.
Speedy West was inducted into the Pedal Steel Guitar Hall of Fame as one of the instrument’s most innovative performers. He was able to apply his unique style to country, jazz, and popular music.