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Red Norvo
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    (March 31, 1908-April 6, 1999)
    Born in Beardstown, Illinois
    Birth name was Kenneth Norville
    Jazz musician
    Played vibraphone, xylophone and marimba
    Recorded the songs 'Hole in the Wall,' 'Knockin' on Wood,' 'Dance of the Octopus,' 'Please Be Kind,' 'Bughouse,' Congo Blues,' 'A Cigarette and a Silhouette,' 'The Night Is Blue' and '1-2-3-4 Stomp'
    Appeared in the films 'The Screaming Mimi' (1958) and 'Oceans Eleven' (1960)
    With wife Mildred Bailey, known as 'Mr. and Mrs. Swing'
    He got the money for his first xylophone by selling his pony.
    He started as a vaudeville tap dancer.
    His last name got changed as a result of a misprint in 'Variety.'
    While he was working with the NBC radio orchestra in Chicago, his boss was showing an executive around the studio when they discovered him under a piano, sleeping off a drinking bout.
    He complained that records of his jazz trio never sounded right, because engineers did not know how to properly record a drummerless group. ('It sounded like I was playing an anvil.')
    He was ambidextrous.
    He had such an outstanding musical memory that he could play almost any piece after hearing it just once.
    He played in the bands of Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.
    He successfully resumed his career despite losing much of the hearing in one ear following an infection aggravated by a gun going off near his ear (1961).
    Bandleader Eddie Condon said, 'There are two kinds of xylophone players. There is Red Norvo and there are all the rest.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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