Innovative funkster Roger Troutman was the master of the talk box -- an effects unit that created robotic-sounding vocals through the simultaneous use of a piano-like interface and a breath controller (breath tube). What James Jamerson did for the bass, Jimi Hendrix for the guitar, and Stevie Wonder for the harmonica, Troutman did for the talk box. As a member of Zapp, a band that included his brothers Larry, Lester, and Tony, and recording under the solo moniker of Roger, he helped define and give life to a difficult-to-play instrument that was previously used for gimmicky effects and, as played by others, was basically devoid of personality. With his winning smile and charming playfulness, Troutman was a favorite on stage and record. He'd often bring his talk box along on radio interviews, treating the listeners to his amazing skill.