Featured in Music Episode
Joan Baez plays her Martin Guitar.
Joan Baez, musician and political activist, often performs with only a guitar to accompany her clear strong voice, her Martin guitar. Since the landmark 1959 Newport Folk Festival, Baez has been at the forefront of and witness to significant social changes in the history of this country. Her favorite guitar is a C.F. Martin vintage 0-45, made by the Martin Guitar Company (Nazareth, PA).
C.F Martin & Co.
Dale Eckhart shaves the bracing at Martin Guitar Company’s Custom Shop. Mark Markley photograph
C.F Martin & Co. has been creating the finest instruments in the world since 1833. It continues to innovate, introducing techniques and features that have become industry standards including X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar and the "Dreadnought" size. One of the world's leading acoustic instrument makers, Martin guitars are hand-made by skilled craftsmen and women, who use a combination of new design and techniques along with those introduced by the company founder.
Scotty Barnhart, Director, Count Basie Orchestra with a Monette trumpet. Mark Markley photograph
Scotty Barnhart is a jazz trumpeter featured in the MUSIC episode, who works with David Monette to create a custom decorated trumpet. Barnhart is a trumpeter, composer, educator, author, and after 20 years with The Count Basie Orchestra, was named its Director.
Composer and banjo player Tony Ellis playing a Stelling banjo. Mark Markley photograph
For renowned composer/musician Tony Ellis (Circleville, OH) who comes out of Bluegrass and Old Time music, a Stelling banjo is his choice. Named a "Pioneer of Bluegrass Music" by the International Bluegrass Music Museum, his experimental compositions have paired the banjo with the harp, pump organ and slide guitar.
Rhiannon Giddens in concert. Judy J. Hing photograph
Rhiannon Giddens is a gifted Grammy-winner, African American folk music interpreter and revivalist. Featured in the MUSIC episode of Craft in America, Giddens plays a Jim Hartel Levi Brown style minstrel banjo. Giddens recently featured in a performance at the White House with a newly released solo album Tomorrow is My Turn.
Mallet maker Jason Ginter. Mark Markley photograph
Jason Ginter is a timpanist, percussionist, educator as well as the owner of JGpercussion, a company specializing in high-quality mallets and percussion products. A native of Elyria, Ohio, Jason began playing the drums at age 12. He currently serves on the music faculty of the University of San Diego.
Minstrel Banjo maker Jim Hartel. Mark Markley photograph
In the 17th century, slaves transported from Africa to America began making early banjos based on indigenous African instruments. The banjo has since developed into a versatile instrument used in many styles of music: Bluegrass, Dixieland, Country, and Classical. Among the great banjo builders in the U.S. is James Hartel of Hartel Banjos, (Franklin, NY) maker of authentic minstrel banjos based on designs from 19th century American minstrelsy.
Four generations of the Kamaka family. Courtesy of Kamaka Hawaii
Four generations of luthiers preserve the Hawaiian heritage craft of making extraordinary ukuleles at Kamaka Hawaii, Inc. (Honolulu, HI). World renowned for their outstanding tonal characteristics, these instruments are collected and played by the finest ukulele musicians in the world including ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.
The David G. Monette Corporation
Final Assembly Manager Heather Sessler holds up a Monette trumpet. Mark Markley photograph
Now in their 30th year of inventing, designing and hand-crafting custom brass instruments and mouthpieces, the David G. Monette Corporation (Portland, OR) has developed a holistic philosophy taking into account the player, the instrument, the performance space and the audience as a complete communication system. Monette's revolutionary "constant-pitch-center" mouthpiece allows the trumpet to be played from soft to loud without the pitch changing as in traditional instruments and Monette's state-of-the-art, no-tension alignment creates an instrument so easy to play, it's like breathing. These instruments are coveted by world renowned musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Charles Schlueter, Maynard Ferguson and jazz great Scotty Barnhart.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Timpanist Joseph Pereira. Mark Markley photograph
Joseph Pereira, Principal Timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2007, composer and teacher, has appeared in some of the world's greatest orchestras and can be heard on numerous recordings and soundtracks to major motion pictures. Working closely with timpani mallet maker Jason Ginter of JGpercussion, together they create a broad range of timpani sounds and colors for the complex, expressive music performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Jake Shimabukuro playing a Kamaka ukulele. Mark Markley photograph
At the age of four, Jake Shimabukuro started playing the ukulele, quickly developing a unique fast and complex finger style. In 2006, his version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" went viral on YouTube. He travels the world year-round performing at sold out concerts and his albums have won high praise and top music awards. Featured in the MUSIC episode, Shimabukuro plays a Kamaka ukulele and performs his composition, "143."
Stelling Banjo Works
Banjo maker Geoff Stelling. Mark Markley photograph
Five-string Bluegrass banjos like those made by Stelling Banjo Works (Afton, VA) are designed for power and clarity of sound. Geoff Stelling has spent the past 40 years perfecting his banjos from the wedge-fitted pot assembly up to the pivot-pin tailpiece. The sound of a banjo is unique, he explains, it's a percussive sound like "a drum with strings vibrating on it."