Red Norvo


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Birth Date
Deceased Date
Job Title
Musician, Vibraphonist, Band Leader

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Red Norvo was often surprised at the influence his vibraphone playing had on a generation of musicians. During his interview in 1994 he said, "I just wanted to make music. It was an extra bonus to learn I helped others do the same!" Red's vibraphone playing helped redefine the instruments role within jazz particularly when he used four mallets. His role within big bands, including his own, gained such a reputation that he was nicknamed "Mr. Swing." Red played with Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, as well as legendary singer Frank Sinatra and his wife Mildred Bailey. He also can boast several instrumental jazz tunes including "The Night is Blue" and "Knockin' On Wood." 


Image Courtesy of the Downbeat archives.