Red Norvo, vibraphonist
birth name: Kenneth Norville

Red Norvo

March 31, 1908, Beardstown, Illinois ~ April 6, 1999, Santa Monica, CA

The story goes that he sold his pet pony to help pay for his first marimba. Norvo's career began in Chicago with a band called “The Collegians”, in 1925. He played with many other bands, including an all-marimba band on the vaudeville circuit, and the bands of Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet, and Woody Herman. Norvo recorded with Mildred Bailey (his wife), Billie Holiday, Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra, among others. Together, Red and Mildred were known as “Mr. and Mrs. Swing.” He also appeared in the film Screaming Mimi (1958), playing himself. ~ All about Jazz: Red Norvo ~ retrieved April 19, 2014 © All About Jazz

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March 31, 1973 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (4) Gladys Knight & The Pips, Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye) ~ #2 (3) Deodato, Also Sprach Zarathustra ~ #1 (2) Roberta Flack, Killing Me Softly With His Song


With his understated style and impeccable rhythm, it's no wonder he was called “Mr. Swing.” Credited with bringing the xylophone, formerly a vaudeville instrument, into jazz, Red Norvo was a sideman with Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. Norvo led one of the most admired bands of the swing era, and he served as a catalyst for the career of musicians whose ranks include Charles Mingus. While Norvo received acclaim throughout his life, his innovations on the mallet instruments were far ahead of his time. ~ NPR: Red Norvo ~ retrieved April 19, 2014 © NPR

Red Norvo ~ Inducted in the 1991 Big Band And Jazz Hall Of Fame.

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