Mannheim Steamroller Tickets
Mannheim Steamroller is an "18th century classical rock" group founded by Chip
Davis and Jackson Berkey, who are well-known for their modern recordings of holiday
music. The group has sold 27 million albums in the U.S. alone.
The current lineup of the group is Chip Davis (drums and percussion), Bobby Jenkins (oboe), Jackson Berkey (keyboards), Almeda Berkey (keyboards), Roxanne Layton (percussion and woodwinds), Ron Cooley (guitar and bass), Arnie Roth (strings), and Chuck Pennington (orchestra conductor).
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Mannheim Steamroller actually began as an alias for record producer/composer Chip Davis. The name Mannheim Steamroller comes from an 18th century German musical technique, "Mannheim Roller". Before the fame of the group, Davis had been best known for creating the country music character C. W. McCall (of "Convoy" fame) for his friend Bill Fries. Before Davis made McCall a star, he produced an unusual album of classical music performed entirely by Davis and musical collaborator Jackson Berkey, using electric bass and synthesizers. Since no major label would handle its distribution, Davis founded his own music label, American Gramaphone (a play on the classical record label Deutsche Grammophon), to release the album. The result, Fresh Aire, was released in 1975 under the pseudonym Mannheim Steamroller, in the hopes of the album being a best seller. Fresh Aire II was subsequently released in 1977 and Fresh Aire III was released in 1979. Mannheim Steamroller quickly grew into a full band, with Davis on drums, Berkey on keyboards, and Eric Hansen on bass and lute. Berkey's wife Almeda joined them onstage as another keyboardist. The London Symphony Orchestra appears on Fresh Aire V, Fresh Aire VI, and Fresh Aire 8.
It was beginning in 1984 that Mannheim Steamroller found its greatest fame. Davis released his first holiday album, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, featuring modern contemporary interpretations of Yuletide favorites. This was followed by A Fresh Aire Christmas (1988) and Christmas in the Aire (1995). The group had now become one of the most requested Christmas music artists of all time. By the end of 1997, they had released a live album of Christmas music, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Live and, in 2001, they released another holiday album, Christmas Extraordinaire.