|Chip Davis aka Mannheim Steamroller|
I was introduced to the music of Mannheim Steamrollers when I attended BYU as a Freshman circa. 1980. At that time we were listening to records on a turntable and cassette tapes [obviously long before YouTube and digital music MP3s]. One of the guys down the hall had brought a nice stereo and had a collection of Mannheim Steamrollers' Fresh Aire Series of records. To me their music really was a breath of fresh air. That series eventually grew to eight records I believe but at the time had just the first few. I listened to that music and it was like opening a new world of music to me. To me it sounded totally different and I loved it.
Mannheim Steamroller: Sonata
Mannheim Steamroller is best known for their Christmas music, of which they have put out several albums and may be the most frequently listened to Christmas music in existence. Almost certainly you have heard their Christmas music which is played in many stores over the Christmas season. In addition there are many knockoffs and wannabes of their type of music.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia that gives more detail:
Mannheim Steamroller began as an alias for record producer/composer Chip Davis. The name "Mannheim Steamroller" comes from an 18th-century German musical technique, Mannheim roller an crescendo passage having a rising melodic line over an ostinato bass line.
Chip Davis produced an unusual album of classical music performed entirely by Davis and musical collaborator and keyboardist Jackson Berkey, using electric bass (played by Eric Hansen) 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. The first four Fresh Aire albums constituted a "four seasons" exploration, with Fresh Aire being spring, Fresh Aire II being fall (less obviously than the others), Fresh Aire III being summer, and Fresh Aire IV being winter. All four of these albums maintained the blend of baroque classical music, light jazz, and a light sense of humor.