One NAMM event that didn’t involve new products was the event held on the eve of the show by Roland/Boss and which saw the company present its second-annual Lifetime Achievement Awards to two monumental figures in music: French composer and keyboardist Jean-Michel Jarre (Roland) and British guitarist Andy Summers (Roland & BOSS), best known for his work as guitarist in The Police.
Andy Summers said: ‘Musical creativity is sometimes enhanced and encouraged by having these wonderful devices. Over the years, the products that I have used from Roland, in particular, were able to open up what I was able to do. Of course I would have to cite my guitar sound with the Police in particular. ‘Don’t Stand so Close to Me’… ‘Walking on the Moon’… ‘Every Breath You Take’ — all those hits featured Roland products, and if I hadn’t had them, I might not be standing here today. Today, I’m still making records, of course. I believe in the interaction between technology and musical creativity, and one can inform the other. It seems to be particularly important if you play the electric guitar! Roland products have always made this interaction possible. It’s an interesting time, in that technology and music are in partnership to push the creative edge forward, and I think Roland is leading the way in that.’
Next, Mr. Jun-ichi Miki, Roland Corporation CEO and representative director, and Jay Wanamaker, Roland Corporation North America president and CEO, presented Jarre with a Roland lifetime achievement award. As a pioneer in electronic music, Jarre has sold 80 million albums worldwide to date. His dynamic concert experiences broke new ground and paved the way for state-of-the-art outdoor live events in the decades since.
Jarre commented, ‘I started electronic music before these strange machines were even called synthesizers – back when we were actually considered a bunch of crazy guys working with machines; the whole idea was, for the first time, opening new doors and virgin territories. For the first time, we were able to become our own creators of sound. I wouldn’t be here without Roland synthesizers.’
Jay Wanamaker said, ‘The Roland and BOSS Lifetime Achievement Awards were created to acknowledge true innovators for their contributions to the music industry and thank them for their long association with our brands. We are honoring Jean-Michel Jarre for his body of work and pioneering use of Roland products, and Andy Summers for his era-defining guitar sound, achieved with the help of BOSS pedals. We thank them for their contributions to Roland and to music and the recording arts.’