NAMM 2014Entertainment, Jazz N LA, News2 — By Buddy Sampson on March 24, 2014 at 2:25 am
Music Manufacturing Nirvana
By Buddy Sampson
I attended the NAMM Festival for 2014, the first time as a journalist and it, especially for a musician or an artist, was music manufacturing Nirvana.
I met some amazing ladies at a New Year’s party a couple of years ago, having no idea I was hanging with two unheralded music legends, The Bootsy Girls, aka Guitar Sallye and Tamah, who have performed all over the world and on television shows, such as The Arsenio Hall Show. We became quick friends and this is the second year I went with them to NAMM. It felt great to be a part of their crew, hanging with them and breaking bread. Stay tuned for more about these two very talented ladies. But hanging with them at NAMM was so much fun and NAMM is a hoot.
NAMM is pretty much a virtual playground. Every music manufacturer you’ve ever heard of and countless more, are there showing their wares, including Fender, Peavey, Acoustic, Hartke and countless others. The most thrilling thing about the manufacturers is that that have the most awesome musicians you’ll ever see demonstrating their products, including the most innovative musicians of today’s music scene.
I was completely fascinated by a group that performed on the Thursday Peavey stage, I believe their name was Minoche. For me, as a musician, I love hearing great music and great musicianship, but I also love to be entertained. And I will say that Minoche provided the entertainment I look for. Completely original, okay, well somewhat original, these guys combine traditional mariachi music with KISS glam rock, and they fully dress the part. Their costumes are just like their music, with big mariachi hats and painted skin, like KISS. Fascinating group and wildly entertaining. Peavey did a great job by having them on their stage.
Aye, all kinds of musical candy, where to go next? I decided to stop at the Cecelio booth to see Rachel Grace and Saga, which featured Ginny Luke, Leah Zeger and Adrienne Woods. As usual, they were electrifying and stunning. Rachel’s violin solos are generally very captivating and she’s been known to lay flat on stage while playing. “I was classically trained, but I learned to listen to what’s around me,” said Rachel Grace, when asked about her technique. “I guess I just listen to what comes in my head and play what I hear in my head and heart.” Saga is a great group and you will hear a lot more from them.
Later, I stopped by a couple friends’ booths, including my friend Curtis Sanford at the Peavey booth, a very good drummer and one of my all-time favorites. He and two others, Carlos Roberto, on bass and Scott Miller on guitar, had an entertaining trio that demonstrated Peavey’s new state of the art technology and products. It was fun to watch.
There was so much to do there, next year, I will be sure to have a hotel room, to relax in spurts. Really, there is so much to see, it is unbelievable. I went to a Canadian event and met a lovely couple, who had a band at their event, Mark Cooper and Coup De Ville, who admitted that gospel changed his view on music. “It was Black gospel that turned me around,” said Cooper, a proud Canadian. “When I heard that, I said ‘wow, this is a groove.’ I grew up in a White church so I didn’t have that experience, but the moment I went to my first Black church service, I was like, ‘oh My God, the groove is so fat!’” Their music was very funky and they had a mind blowing bassist, Keith, from Virginia. They were a super entertaining group!
I also have to give a shout out to Lamar Webster, who played bass in the Decarbo booth, with master trumpeter Jon Barnes. They did a funky version of “Red Baron,” a popular Billy Cobham tune. He is a very good bass player with a huge pocket and bottom side.
Okay, so I have a bit of favoritism because I’m a bass player, but my favorite event of NAMM is the Bass Bash. I play the bass and some of the most awesome bass players in the world appear at this event. My favorite bass player to see at the Bash is Englishwoman Yolanda Charles, who has graced the stage with David Bowie and others. She is captivating to watch. She is as tall as a model, (she stands 5’11” in her bare feet) and you could easily mistake her for a Revlon model. But Charles, who represents Fender products, is not just a pretty face. She has monster technique and her masterful low end playing on the bass is rival to none. There were several other bass players at the Bash, but she stands out, with her singing, compositions and bass playing. We’ll be doing a feature article on her soon. I also have to mention Ethan Farmer. He is a super entertaining guy on the bass and adds humor to his playing. I loved his technique. I have to mention Peter DeCuin, who does a fine job putting on the Bash every year and it is always a standing room only affair.
NAMM stands out as a triumph in musical manufacturing and it is a must attend for any musician or artist. Special thanks to Jeanne O’ Keefe of the Lippen Group for her assistance and kindness. Visit http://www.namm.org for details on their next events or festivals. NAMM 2014, was truly, music nirvana.