Vox at the Russell Hotel, August 1963
The AMII Trade Fair, 26th-30th August, 1963
Some material relating to two important Trade Shows attended by Jennings in the second half of 1963: NAMM in Chicago (National Association of Music Merchants); and the Russell Hotel Fair in London, organised by the Association of Musical Instrument Industries.
In Chicago, Jennings encountered Thomas Organs, and this led fairly quickly to an agreement between the two companies: that Jennings would be agent for Thomas Organs in the UK, an arrangement made public at the Russell Hotel little over a month later. A selection of Thomas organs were displayed at the Jennings stand and demonstrated by Jack Malmsten. And Malmsten came over to the UK again in early 1964 to embark on a promotional tour of the UK arranged by JMI.
"Record Retaile and Music Industry News", 25th July, 1963.
The Russell Hotel Fair
Left to right: A.F.Cameron (Export Manager); Paul Jennings, Tom's son and manager of Musicland, Bexleyheath; J. Willament (Sales Manager). Willament was succeeded by Reg Clark a couple of months after this picture was taken. On the back wall, Phantoms in three colours. In the foreground, probably the Star drums mentioned in the press.
Rough-print pictures of the stands of other exhibitors can be found at the foot of this page.
Jennings for once allowed a preview report of its display (see below) to be printed. Some items were naturally covered very briefly - "will be exhibiting a complete range of their own amplifiers, guitars, electronic organs, microphones, electronic organs, and guitar accessories - plus complete ranges of new lines".
Singled out are the Thomas organs, new drums, microphones, and the Line Source speakers, on which see this page. Otherwise it is "new amplifiers", new styles of guitar, and so on. Among the former may have been a first version of the AC50, perhaps along with the Transonic and AC10 Super Reverb Twin, which had been "released" earlier in the year.
The new Foundation Bass speaker cabinet. Picture printed in the preview report of the Jennings stand.
The front page of a dedicated review section in "Record Retailer", 22nd August, 1963.
Jennings had two spaces at the Fair - one on the ground floor in the Winter Garden (a covered courtyard) at the hotel's centre; and a second larger set of rooms in the Wharncliffe suite on the first floor.
Jennings had rooms "N" and "A", left front in the Winter Garden; and rooms 141-143 on the first floor. "Record Retailer's" own stand was not far from Jennings' in the Winter Garden.
Below, an old ground plan of the ground floor of the Russell Hotel. In the Winter Garden were two rows of stands. A further two rows were set up beyond it in the Banqueting Room. Some of the other ground floor rooms were used too. Weill, for instance, had the Oak Room, called the Billiard Room at the time when the plan below was drawn up.
Image from the RIBA photo library.
A shot taken of a Thomas organ demonstration in one of the Jennings rooms in in the Wharncliffe suite (Russell Hotel, first floor). The tall man at right is Joe Benaron, president of the Thomas Organ Company.
Jack Malmsten (not Malmstor) later demonstrated Thomas organs for JMI around the UK in early 1964, and at the Russell Hotel Fair in 1964.
Below, a version of a well-known advert (published in "Beat Instrumental" magazine etc.) printed specially for the Fair of 1963. Above "Jennings Musical Industries Ltd" is the line: "See the complete range of VOX equipment with many new surprises at the British Music Trades Fair.
The only really new thing illustrated is the Foundation Bass speaker cabinet, which was singled out for comment later on in the journal in which this ad was placed. Jennings generally avoided giving away too many secrets / surprises in advance of these Fairs.
Pathe newsreel footage of the Fair can be seen in the youtube video below. Tom Jennings and Dick Denney (holding a Phantom guitar) make a brief but unscheduled appearance.
Previews of the Arbiter, Barnes and Mullins, Beare and Sons, and Besson stands.
Previews of the Hohner, Jennings, Ormston Burns, Premier, Rose Morris, Rosetti, Selmer, Stenton and Weekes stands.
Below, pieces in the music trade press in September: (a) on the presence of Thomas Organs at the Fair, and (b) Jennings's report on business done:
"Record Retailer", September 1963.
September '63, Jennings's report of the Fair,
Rosetti. Winter Garden, stands "B and C".
Cathedral Strings. Location at present unknown.
Premier and Arbiter. Winter Garden stands "D-F".
Barnes and Mullins, and Hohner. Winter Garden, stands "H-J".
Beare and Son, Jennings. Winter Garden, stands "L" and "A"..
Boosey and Hawkes, and Besson. Stands "S, T and U" in the Banqueting Room.
On to the page for the Russell Hotel Fair, 1964.