From the Library: Mannheim Steamroller & American Gramaphone

Today on Radio Riel we fea­ture the work of Chip Davis’s Amer­i­can Grama­phone label, and oth­er artists in the field of con­tem­po­rary instru­men­tal music, with a sea­son­al flavour.

In par­tic­u­lar, we’re focus­ing on the music of Mannheim Steam­roller, found­ed by Davis and Jason Berkey in 1974. The group has become known par­tic­u­lar­ly for its con­tem­po­rary re-work­ings of Christ­mas clas­sics, and we’ll be includ­ing many of those today along­side oth­er Amer­i­can Grama­phone artists.

Davis found­ed Mannheim Steam­roller in 1974 to show­case his inter­est in fus­ing mod­ern pop­u­lar and clas­si­cal tech­niques. The first Fresh Aire album was released short­ly after. It was turned down by major record labels, so Davis found­ed Amer­i­can Grama­phone to release it; this has been the label for all sub­se­quent Mannheim Steam­roller releas­es. A total of eight Fresh Aire albums were released, con­clud­ing with Fresh Aire 8 in 2000. Fresh Aire 7 was award­ed the Gram­my Award for Best New Age Record­ing in 1990.

Mannheim Steam­roller released Mannheim Steam­roller Christ­mas in 1984, and the group’s sub­se­quent Christ­mas music albums have sold tens of mil­lions of copies and become among the most pop­u­lar record­ings in that genre.” (Wikipedia)

To com­plete today’s pic­ture, we’ll be includ­ing music from oth­er con­tem­po­rary instru­men­tal artists, often with a jazz flavour, such as David Benoit and Sandy Owen, includ­ing the lat­ter’s atmos­pher­ic solo piano set­tings of well-known Christ­mas songs.

In addi­tion, at 1pm and 7pm SLT, we will be broad­cast­ing the sec­ond in our “Night Tales” series of ghost sto­ries for Christ­mas, with E F Ben­son’s The Bus Con­duc­tor, read by Elrik Mer­lin.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme now at in-world, or sim­ply click here:

For more infor­ma­tion on the Alexan­dri­an Free Library, cur­rent exhibits and the work of Con­sor­tium mem­bers in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Alexan­dri­an Free Library web­site, or one of their branch­es in-world.

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