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65 Hits : Red Norvo

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Album Review

Red Norvo had a lengthy and diverse career which is perfectly summed up in the 40 performances included on this three-LP Time-Life box set. Starting with his brilliant xylophone showcase on 1933's "Knockin' on Wood" and his early all-star recordings through the small groups he led at the beginning of the swing era, Norvo's unique big band (which featured the vocals of his wife Mildred Bailey), all of the music from a particularly memorable Teddy Wilson quartet session (with Harry James and bassist John Simmons) through the war years, collaborations with the Benny Goodman Sextet and Woody Herman and his brilliant trios in the 1950s before concluding with 1957's "Just a Mood," this definitive set certainly covers a lot of ground athough it leaves off the music from Norvo's last 25 years on record! Its attractive booklet is another reason to acquire this valuable set, even by listeners who already have the majority of the recordings.


Born: 31 March 1908 in Beardstown, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Red Norvo was an unusual star during the swing era, playing jazz xylophone. After he switched to vibes in 1943, Norvo had a quieter yet no-less fluent style than Lionel Hampton. Although no match for Hampton popularity-wise, Norvo and his wife, singer Mildred Bailey, did become known as "Mr. and Mrs. Swing." Red Norvo had a long and interesting career. He started on marimba when he was 14 and soon switched to xylophone. Active in vaudeville in the late '20s as a tap dancer, Norvo joined Paul Whiteman's...
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65 Hits : Red Norvo, Red Norvo
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