The most highly anticipated show, The 2018 NAMM, National Association of Music Merchants Show returned to the newly expanded Anaheim Convention Center from January 25-28, 2018. This incredible event featured a plethora of musical acts spanning a variety of genres, ages and compositions.
I arrived just in time to catch the final tune of the talented SCSBOA Jazz Ensemble performing a tight set of jazz on the Yamaha Grand Plaza Stage.
I hurried over to the other outdoor stage. Louie Cruz Beltran was among the 140 or so acts from around the world to provide entertainment during The 2018 NAMM Show, Band @ NAMM program. Louie Cruz Beltran and his band performed a set of Latin Jazz and Salsa on the new NAMM Arena Plaza Stage Presented by Pioneer Professional Audio. Louie Cruz Beltran band consisted of the leader on congas and vocals, Carlos Vivas-keyboards, Andrew Ford-bass, JC Lara-guiro, Tony Moore-drums, and Justin Janer-saxophones. The sound man did an excellent job balancing the sound on the stage while using a DiGiCo SD 12 mixing board with Pioneer speakers.
Ari and The Alibis hails from my hometown of Tampa, Florida. They thrilled the crowd with a set of original tunes during their time in the spotlight. Their set list featured the tunes “Crazy Lady,” “Our Song,” “Help Me,” and “How I Feel.”
Bootsy Collins had the tough task of judging the Funk-Off a competition of any/all bass players who stopped by the booth. This magnificent event was presented by OWC, The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. The best players from each segment were invited to perform on stage with Bootsy Collins and one winner walked away with a Yamaha bass guitar signed by Bootsy Collins. How awesome was that?
This event also served as a showcase for Bootsy to introduce a phenomenal 10 year old bass player from New Jersey named Lil Asmar, who has the great pleasure to be mentored by Bootsy Collins. Manou Gallo-The Queen of Afro-Funk demonstrated her wonderful talents on the bass. She is also featured on Bootsy Collins latest CD/EP World Wide Funk, on the tune “Bass-Rigged System.”
Bootsy Collins served as the unofficial AmBASSador of The 2018 NAMM Show, as he made multiple appearances throughout the weekend for meet and greets with fans to sign autographs and to pose for photos.
I returned to the Arena Plaza Stage to take in the wonderful performance by Towne, consisting of Steevie Steeves vocals and Jon Decious, guitar/vocals. Their set featured the tunes “Waiting,” “Avalanche,” and “Getting Close Enough.”
Harman Professional Solutions with its JBL Professional Brand invited guest to stop by their booth for a series of artists meet and greets, autograph sessions and more. George Clinton and other members of Parliament/Funkadelic Lige Curry and DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight participated in this segment. George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic are preparing to go on a 45-show national tour, entitled “Mardi Gras Madness.” The tour is held to promote “Medicaid Fraud Dogg” their first album since 1990.
Ellis Hall- The Ambassador of Soul delighted the captivated crowd who stopped to hear him perform three different solo sets on Saturday.
Bassist extraordinaire Doug Winbush was also in attendance in the Eventide booth to jam and inter-act with the crowd.
My day long visit to The 2018 NAMM Show concluded with a high octane energetic set of hip-hop provided superbly by The Pharcyde. They took the crowd and I down memory lane with some of their timeless/classic tunes “Runnin’, “Drop,” “Passing Me By,” and “Ya Mama” to name a few.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music product industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members funds The NAMM Foundation’s efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org or follow the organization on Social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.