Red Norvo (born Kenneth Norville, March 31, 1908 – April 6, 1999) was one of jazz‘s early vibraphonists, known as “Mr. Swing”. He helped establish the xylophone, marimba, and vibraphone as jazz instruments. His recordings included “Dance of the Octopus”, “Bughouse”, “Knockin’ on Wood”, “Congo Blues”, and “Hole in the Wall”.
Red Norvo was born in Beardstown, Illinois. His 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. He recorded with Mildred Bailey (his wife), Billie Holiday, Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra. Norvo and his wife were known as “Mr. and Mrs. Swing.” He appeared as himself in the film Screaming Mimi (1958) and in Ocean’s 11, accompanying Dean Martin while he sang “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?“.