What Is "NAMM" And Why Does It Matter?

Why Gospel Jazz Artists And Musicians Should Attend
By Terrence Richburg

NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants, which is a trade association of musical instrument, and related product and technology retailers. Every year, the largest NAMM Show is held in Anaheim, California and brings music industry professionals together to showcase as well as provide educational clinics and seminars on the latest gear in all things music, including the latest and greatest recording and live sound products available in the world.

Speaking of this world in which we live, I'm always amazed by just how diverse, gifted and yet sometimes disconnected the many facets and individual participants within the entertainment and music industry can be. Fortunately I've had lots of friends and networking acquaintances that have helped keep me "in the know" about at least some of the established industry resources, ground breaking events, technological advances of which we all should be made aware.

In fact, from an analogical perspective the influences of popular music from the secular community has always profoundly inspired the soundof new artists and project releases within the Gospel Music community--just as many times the musical characteristics of contemporary and traditional Gospel Music heard today attract the appeal for imitative approaches used for newly produced secular music. Another phenomenon quite common is the participation of secular and Gospel artists alike appearing on each other's project releases. Exclusive of financial gain, there is a fundamental reason why now this is the case.

In the recent past the style and sonic quality of Gospel as well as Jazz recordings and arrangements always seemed to somewhat lag behind that of mainstream popular music. I believe this can be traced to how long it took for that particular "sound" as a stylistic tool and the supporting resources to catch fire with those genre trailblazers and their audiences.

Fortunately due to the direct contribution of technology and its advances within the realm of recording, instrumentation, and media engines via the Internet and computer software we can all benefit from the instantaneous availability of everything we need. This has vastly leveled the playing field and now the quality and the technical approaches used within Gospel, Jazz and the most popular music genres are basically the same. The extent of innovation is now only governed or limited by the degree to which artistic vision is presented and incorporated by writers, producers, arrangers, musicians, vocalists, engineers, promoters and marketers.

So you ask what does this have to do with the NAMM ? Although many people are aware and taking full advantage of what the NAMM Show has to offer, some are not and it's imperative that all genre proponents get involved with NAMM to go and meet those that attend and see what is going on in the manufacturing, merchant, sponsorship, endorsement and networking world within the music industry. Many opportunities and resources are available to help anyone accomplish goals and fulfill visions as artists and musicians.

2008 NAMM Show Highlights:

When I attended the NAMM show last year I saw, met and spoke with the following Artists and Musicians:

Andre' Crouch (Gospel Artist), Sandra Crouch (Gospel Artist), Keith Crouch (Producer/ Arranger), Stevie Wonder (R&B Artist), Teddy Riley (Producer/Arranger), Verdine White (R&B Bassist-EWF), Kevin Kato Walker (Bassist-Justin Timberlake), Marcus Miller (Jazz/R&B Bassist/Artist/Producer/Arranger), Bill "The Budda" Dickens (Jazz Bassist/Artist), Andre Gouche (Gospel/R&B Bassist), Paul Jackson, Jr. (Guitarist/Artist), Victor Wooten (Bassist/Artist), Calvin Napper (Gospel Drummer), Jeff Davis (Gospel Drummer), Tim Carmen (Producer/ Arranger/Keyboardist), Patrick Cooper (Jazz Keyboardist/Artist), P J Morgan (Gospel/Jazz Keyboardist/Producer/Arranger), Deginal Boykin (Jazz Bassist/Producer), Grainger (Gary and Greg) (Jazz Bassist/Drummer Brother Duo), Stan Sergeant (Jazz/R&B Bassist)

In fact, there were so many other artists, personalities and new product displays that it took the entire 4 days just to attempt to get to see everything and everyone. I have been going to the show for the past three years and still it is a formidable task. If you haven't been, this event is unlike anything you've ever seen and merely going once I assure you won't be your last time.

(NOTE: This event is not open to the general public; however you can get involved and attend through membership (if you qualify), retailer/business employment, guest invitation and partnerships, sponsor and endorsement merchants and manufacturers, clinic and product demonstration opportunities as artists, musicians, professionals, etc.)

Be Sure to Check out the 2009 NAMM Show - Next year's show will take place on:

Thursday January 15, 2009 - Sunday January 18, 2009 from 12:00am - 12:00am

Anaheim Convention Center

800 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, California 92802




Hope to see you there! -Terrence