NAMM stands for the "National Association of Music Merchants" and is held in Southern California each January.
2006 NAMM Show Reviews
Sax Reviews will be the home of the actual articles and reviews posting as early as February 06.
NAMM 2006 was a different show for me.
I had very little floor time this year due to performance responsibilities. Much of this years NAMM Show had to do with playing great music and working endorsements, unlike the 2006 IAJE show I attended last week.
The 2006 IAJE Review is right here at Greg Vail.com with Pictures coming in the next few days.
NAMM Day One
I went to Yamaha to pick up my badge in the Marriot and went in for a quick look at the Yamaha display. I said hi to the bosses at Yamaha and ran over to the main hall to check out the Hollywood Winds Booth and play the new saxes just in from Taiwan.
The new Prototype Tenor Pro was very nice as was the Black Nickel Tenor. The Alto’s played good and my favorite was the standard lacquer. I really liked the new Copper Bari and my friend ended up buying it off the floor at the end of the show because she loved it. The Sopranos where ok and the student flutes seemed to be a good value, played well in tune with a nice sound.
From there it was off to rehearsal at Disneyland. I was asked to play the 2006 NAMM Yamaha Dealer Show Friday night which included Thursday rehearsal from noon to what ran until midnight. The band was amazing with Nathan East, Music Director and Bass, and a cast of amazing studio players from the LA area.
You might recognize a few of these names from the House Band: Nathan East, Greg Phillinganes, Dave Delhomme, Mike O’Neal, Dean Parks, Amy Keys, Stephanie Alexander, Valerie Pinkston, Luis Conte, Russ Miller, Brandon Fields, Dan Fornero, Harry Kim, Arturo Velasco and Greg Vail. Not a shabby act here.
NAMM Day 2
We rehearsed all day Friday until a dinner break and did the show that night from 8-11. The acts where amazing. Check out this line up. AL JARREAU, KD LANG, GAVIN DEGRAW, NATALIE COLE, SARAH McLACHLAN and the BRIAN WILSON Band.
The Show was held at Disneyland California Adventure at the Hyperion Theater (where the Aladdin Show plays.) The Theater is amazing with 2 huge balconies and beautiful in every way.
The quick Concert Review –
Gavin Degraw opened the show with his cool, young guy, singer songwriter, pop rock edge. He is a great guy and really did a good job. KD Lang was incredible and I was in awe. When she did Hallelujah from Shriek, everything stopped back stage and everybody was moved. Natalie Cole was amazing too and the highlight of the whole thing for me was playing the Unforgettable solo with Natalie singing it with her Dad via video feed to a big screen. What a moment for me to be apart of.
The funny stuff came from MC, Randy Jackson from American Idol, and Al Jarreau when he started his show. Randy was not really hitting it off with the audience, made up of musicians, dealers and other industry folks. Jarreau came out and pretty much just made fun of the “American what.” "Young guys, walking with an attitude and a dance move." I was laughing so hard and so glad to hear Al put it all in perspective. It was almost like he was saying what so many in that room where thinking and he became my hero that night just being himself. Jarreau is 65 now and sounds great; but is also real. Thanks Al!
Sarah M. was great, and Brian Wilson’s band helped him thru the show. He was not doing real well that night but had the help of his own band and it worked out fine.
At one point he did something I have never seen before. He stopped the band in the middle of “Good Vibrations” to tell the drummer he wanted a different kick drum pattern. He walked over to him and sang it to him, then said, “from the Chorus?” and went on like nothing happened. It was amazing and many asked me about it later but all I knew was what we all saw.
Well, it ended with everyone on stage for the last few Beach Boy's tunes and a big party vibe. I had a blast.
The horn section was me and Brandon Fields playing with the other guys from the Phoenix Horns who back Phil Collins Band. It was an amazing night of music and I was honored to be playing.
The VIP party followed and I did get to talk with a lot of people, take a few pictures and had a great time. 4:30 AM and I was finally home and in bed – What a DAY!
NAMM Day 3
I finally got to the floor and spent most my time talking business with companies I needed to get more connected with for endorsements and had some serious networking to do. It all went great but no news until some follow up becomes actions.
I did get to some instrument sax tests at Cannonball Saxophones. I played the new stone series; 3 Sopranos, 5 Altos, 5 Tenors and the Bari. The Sopranos where a bit out of adjustment but the Saxello was ok. The Altos played ok with the Nickel plated body, Sliver plated bowl and bell being the better of the Altos. The un-lacquered Tenor and Silver plated tenors where cool and the Bari was too, but overall; I was not impressed.
The mid line Selmer tenor played ok as did the Jupiter Saxes, but nothing seemed very good overall. I had little time after leaving Cannonball but did play a few Flutes.
The Pearl Alto flute, Altus Alto Flute, Jupiter Alto Flute and Geimnhardt Alto Flutes all seemed cool. I think the Pearl and Jupiter where my favorites at about 2K. Hollywood Winds student flutes played good as did the Jupiter’s and Selmer’s. I always love playing the Muramatsu Flutes and did like the Dean Flutes a lot.
NAMM Day 4
I did not go. I played Church services in the morning and had so little sleep over the last week and a half with IAJE in New York the week prior and now NAMM with all the fun and hype of the Concert that I went home and crashed, missing the last day for the first time in years.
For me, it was all about a great concert and business this year. Little grabbed my attention this year and I got the same vibe from many I have spoken to since. IAJE was a bit more exciting for the gear and news and you can read about it here also. Most of the new reviews that will be posting on Sax Reviews will be IAJE coverage this year. Any questions or further comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.