May 16th, 2009
The year 2008 marked a milestone for the Gretsch family as they celebrated 125 years as a manufacturer of the world’s finest drums and guitars. In order to make that celebration as meaningful as possible, the family decided to share it with Gretsch customers, fans, and artists around the world.
As a result, Gretsch’s 125th Anniversary year was chock full of events and activities. These included meet-and-greets with Fred and Dinah Gretsch in music stores across the country, a highly successful Next Gretsch Greats Unsigned Artist Competition, recognition and awards for the Gretsch family, and clinics and special appearances by Gretsch artists all over the world. And it all culminated in a phenomenal anniversary concert and party in New York City. No doubt about it: It was a year to remember. Read the rest of this entry »
May 12th, 2009
The name “Gretsch” is virtually inseparable from the word “jazz.” So it’s not surprising that Fred Gretsch should lend his support to an exhibit that celebrates jazz history.
The exhibit in question is taking place from February 24 through May 24 at the Elmhurst Historical Museum in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois. Dubbed Elmhurst Jazz: A Celebration of an American Art Form in Elmhurst, the exhibit explores the history of jazz and jazz education through the perspectives of two local institutions: DownBeat magazine and the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. Highlights include a visual timeline of notable jazz legends, the significance of the Chicago jazz scene in jazz history (including artists like Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong), and displays of rare photos and artifacts.
Fred Gretsch is in a unique position to be a supporter of this exhibit. To begin with, he’s an alumnus of Elmhurst College. The nationally recognized liberal arts school includes a prestigious jazz program within its music department. And the aforementioned Elmhurst College Jazz Festival is the second oldest continuously running event of its kind in the nation. Read the rest of this entry »
May 8th, 2009
By Fred Gretsch, 4th Generation Drum Maker
Louie Bellson’s career was remarkable for many reasons. In musical terms, few, if any drummers, could match his achievements. He began playing with Ted Fio Rito, and he replaced Gene Krupa in Benny Goodman’s band by the time he was seventeen years old. He performed and recorded with such jazz legends as Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, as well as with great vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, Mel Torme’, Sammy Davis Jr., Sarah Vaughan, and Tony Bennett. Louie also led his own successful big bands and small groups for more than forty years.
In addition, Louie established himself as a gifted composer. He wrote and arranged more than a thousand tunes, including the drum-feature classic “Skin Deep,” which he made famous with the Ellington orchestra.
Louie was also a legendary clinician and educator. The eternal student himself, he was always eager to share his knowledge and his skills with young drummers. Read the rest of this entry »
February 14th, 2009
With the passing of Louie Bellson, drumming has lost a genuine innovator. Drummers around the world have lost a sweet and gentle man who was at once an icon and a comrade. And the Gretsch family has lost a cherished friend.
When Louie was making his mark on the drumming scene in the 1940s and ’50s, playing with the great bands of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, and Harry James, Read the rest of this entry »
January 20th, 2009
Savannah Country Day School
Green Gala Auction Party
Live Auction Date February 7, 2009
Green Gala Auction Party Information — The Green Gala Auction Party, the school’s premier annual event, sponsored by the Parents’ Association, will be held February 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm at the Charles Morris Center in downtown Savannah. Auction chairs and volunteers have put together a wonderful evening of fun and excitement, all for the benefit of Savannah Country Day School. There will be a silent auction, a live auction, wonderful food, and entertainment. The live auction features a one of a kind autographed Gretsch guitar, signed by musicians at the Gretsch 125th Anniversary Big Event. Tickets are going fast. It is an event not to be missed! Read the rest of this entry »
January 10th, 2009
Written by Andy Babiuk – Available February 2009
The Gretsch Company “The history of the solidbody electric guitar has been documented many times, and important early innovators include George Beauchamp, Adolph Rickenbacker, Doc Kauffman, Lloyd
Loar, and Paul Tutmarc. It’s widely accepted that Les Paul and Leo Fender were responsible for sparking the electric guitar revolution and making invaluable contributions. However, their work might not have been possible without the man who had designed and built the first modern solidbody electric guitar.” Read the rest of this entry »
December 30th, 2008
“Big Event” Concert, Oral History Live!
Event Round Out Gretsch Anniversary Celebration in 2008
With great fanfare, The Gretsch Company, one of the world’s best known drum and guitar manufacturers, recently culminated its 125th anniversary year with a wave of special events. The following celebrations proved a testament to the company’s rich history and built the foundation for the next 125 years of providing high quality instruments to new and veteran Gretsch fans. Read the rest of this entry »
November 19th, 2008
It may have been a chilly evening in NYC but the scene was HOT inside the Highline Ballroom as friends, family & associates gathered to celebrate the Gretsch 125th Anniversary on Tuesday, November 18. What better way to honor this momentous occasion than to gather some of the most renowned musicians & bands in the world and simply ROCK THE HOUSE!
The night opened with Colourslide, the Gainesville, Florida-based band that was chosen from among 879 world-wide entrants as the winner of the Next Gretsch Greats Unsigned Artist Competition.
Next up was David Lee & His Mercenaries. This Gretsch guitar artist instantly got the house jumping with his Read the rest of this entry »