Red Norvo

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Red Norvo, New York 1947
Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Red Norvo (* 31 March 1908 in Beardstown , Illinois as Kenneth Norville ; † 6. April 1999 in Santa Monica , California ) was an American jazz - vibraphone and - bandleader .

Life and effect

Norvo began his career in Chicago in 1925 in a band called The Collegians . He first played the then unusual marimba in other groups, including a variety group that consisted only of marimba players. Then he led a dance orchestra in Milwaukee and worked there and in Chicago on the radio. During a series with Paul Whiteman he met his future wife Mildred Bailey in 1931 . He then had engagements in the big band of Paul Whiteman, which he left with Bailey in 1934 to become “Mr. and Mrs. Swing ” in New York City in a joint octet. In 1934 he formed the Swing Septet with Jack Jenny , Artie Shaw , Charlie Barnet and Teddy Wilson .

In January 1935 he had his first hit in the national charts with "I Surrender Dear" (# 20). Other hits like " Honeysuckle Rose " and "Norvo Bughouse" followed ; his octet included well-known musicians such as Bunny Berigan , Chu Berry and Shelly Manne . In 1936 he expanded his ensemble to an orchestra, which u. a. Hank D'Amico , Dave Barbour, and Eddie Sauter included ; Norvo had hits with "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" (# 11), "Slummin 'on Park Avenue" (# 8) or in February 1939 with "I Get Along Without You Very Well" for Vocalion , the made it to number 3 on the charts. The last of a total of 15 chart listings was "I Go for That" (# 20) in February 1939.

In 1943 Norvo played vibraphone in an All Star combo with Shorty Rogers , Eddie Bert and Ralph Burns. In 1945 he worked at Benny Goodman , in 1946 at Woody Hermans First Herd ; In 1947 he took the Boy Friends of Julia Lee on. With his second wife, Eve Rogers, the sister of Shorty Rogers, he settled in Hollywood in 1947 . Tony Scott played in his sextet from 1949 . In the then still unusual combination of vibraphone, guitar and bass, he founded a trio, initially with Mundell Lowe and Red Kelly . He then employed Tal Farlow (guitar) and Charles Mingus (bass) in his most advanced trio in terms of chamber music in 1950 , followed by Jimmy Raney and Red Mitchell in 1952/53 . In 1954 he played briefly in a quintet with Tal Farlow, the flautist Buddy Collette , the drummer Chico Hamilton and the bassist Monty Budwig and Red Callender . In the 1958 film melodrama Rivals , Norvo had a small role as a member of a jazz band. Frank Sinatra , Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood were in the lead roles. In 1959, Norvo's band played in Australia with Frank Sinatra, with whom he then appeared regularly in the 1960s. In 1968 he played at the Berlin Jazz Days .

Norvo was active until the 1980s, when a stroke made further appearances impossible for him. As a composer he worked until the end of his life. His estate is in the archives of Yale University .

Discographic notes


  • George T. Simon : The Big Bands . With a foreword by Frank Sinatra. 3rd revised edition. New York City, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co and London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1974, pp. 386-390

Web links

supporting documents

  1. Red Norvo: 'Mr. Swing ' , NPR October 24, 2007, accessed January 31, 2015
  2. MSS 48 - The Red Norvo Papers; 18 '