Every year the National Association Of Music Merchants (NAMM) presents their trade show at the Anaheim Convention Center. I was able to obtain a coveted badge this year to gain entrance to the “Holy Grail” of Music Stores. I enjoy attending the show to see all the new gear that has been unveiled for the first time, and to actually get my hands on it. This isn’t always possible at the large chain music store here in town that everybody loves to hate. There, you may only get to see a picture of the product on their website or see it in the box presented by a sales associate that is trying to reach his impossible monthly sales commission quota. The show allows you to talk directly to the product developers as well as the product specialists that demonstrate the item.
Now for the reason most of us attend. People watching! Yes, some of the world’s finest musicians are in the building. You do have to know what they look like in order to find them in the sea of spandex, muscle shirts, tattoos, and guys wearing more eye makeup and jewelry than their girlfriend in tow. It’s an awesome sight. As I found my way up and down the isles of the main room, I spotted one of my musical influences about to sit down at a keyboard and perform. It was Joe Sample. I was introduced to his jazz compositions and keyboard style at an early age. I was finally in the right place at the right time. I have never had the opportunity to see him play live, until that moment. I enjoyed every note. Definitely, some of the most tasteful playing I heard that day. After his performance, he hung around and I was able to thank him for his music. It was truly an honor for me, and well worth enduring the crowds and traffic to hear a World Class musician and composer perform.