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Cirque Du Soleil
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Feature [Issue #19]
: NAMM Show 2006
By Dean Truitt

Every January, Orange County becomes the hotbed of the music retail industry when the NAMM show hits town. NAMM was originally an acronym for the National Association of Music Merchants and began modestly in 1901 with only 52 members.

Today, the organization represents nearly 9,000 music retail stores in 85 countries. The annual trade show draws thousands and gives people an opportunity to see every imaginable piece of new musical equipment coming to the market.
2006’s NAMM show was the biggest convention to date and drew amazing displays of merchandise and information about how to utilize it creatively and efficiently. Booths ranged from the vast, elaborate facilities of Gibson Guitars, Macintosh Computers, and Marshall amplifiers to smaller boutique companies such as Matchless Amplifiers, ADK Microphones, and A Designs Audio.
One undeniable trend in this year’s gear was the enormous amount of computer-based recording material. Companies such as Tascam, Fostex, Roland, and countless others have integrated their technology to satisfy the computer recording needs of modern musicians. Perhaps the greatest asset to the gathering’s attendees is the readily available staff of knowledgeable tech support experts who can answer any number of questions about the possibilities of the various accessories.

As an added incentive, musicians from all genres eagerly attend the show to keep apprised of the latest merchandise or promote their releases or endorsements. In one casual setting, jazz guitar legends George Benson and Frank Gambale casually improvised with one another while dozens of spectators gathered. Gene Simmons of KISS paraded around the building with television cameras and gawking onlookers as part of his reality show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels. A phalanx of drumming giants from Steve Smith, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Tesla’s Troy Luccketta were signing posters at the Zildjian Cymbals display. John Mayer walked in and was immediately surrounded by a throng of shrieking teenage girls.

The NAMM show ultimately serves each individual’s need accordingly. Some attend to browse the future of music technology, some come to glean as much information to answer specific questions regarding technical issues, and some arrive for the people-watching and festive atmosphere. Regardless of the entrant’s particular objectives, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

NAMM Show 2006

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