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Red Nichols

tr, cor, 1905-1965 US, Ogden, Utah
Musician / Composer of Jazz and Pop
A.k.a. Ernest Loring Nichols

Red Nichols (born May 8, 1905, Ogden, Utah, USA – died June 28, 1965, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) was an American jazz cornettist, composer, and jazz bandleader. Jazz legend Red Nichols was perhaps one of the most prolific recording artists in history. In the 1920s alone the cornetist appeared on over 4,000 recordings, working with almost every important musician of his time. Though his style of playing was influenced by Bix Beiderbecke, Nichols was a better, more polished musician. His contribution to the early days of jazz cannot be overstated. Few artists can even come close to equaling his accomplishments. Nichols studied music under his father, a college music professor, and mastered a variety of instruments, though he favored the cornet. As a teen he attended the Culver Military Academy and played in its band before being dismissed. Returning home to Utah he worked in various pit orchestras, joining Ray Stillson in 1922. Later that year he left Stillson for a Midwestern ensemble called the Syncopating Five, a seven-piece group which was later billed as the Royal Palms Orchestra, and toured across country with them. In 1923 Nichols settled in New York, where he met trombonist Miff Mole, who became a permanent fixture in Nichol's various groups. Nichols most famously recorded under the name Red Nichols And His Five Pennies, but the same group of musicians also recorded under many different pseudonyms, including the Louisiana Rhythm Kings, the Charleston Seven, the Arkansas Travelers, Miff Mole's Molers, the Hottentots, and the Red Heads. The list of top musicians who worked with Nichols is long. They include Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Jack Teagarden, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Adrian Rollini, and Gene Krupa. During the 1920's Nichols also led pit orchestras for two George Gershwin Broadway shows, Girl Crazy and Strike Up the Band, and played with a variety of other bandleaders, including Paul Whiteman, Donald Voorhees, Cass Hagan, Vincent Lopez (2), Henry Halstead, Ross Gorman, Harry Reser, and Bennie Krueger, as well as with the group the California Ramblers. In the 1930's Nichols formed his own big band, which appeared on both Bob Hope's radio program and the Kellogg College Prom in addition to regular broadcasts from Cleveland's Golden Pheasant restaurant. Vocalists were Frances Stevens, Ernie Mathias, and Tony Sacco (3). Around 1940 Nichols took advantage of the swing craze and updated his sound, though he still featured a Dixieland base. The new band recorded for Bluebird (3), with Bill Darnell and Harry Jaeger providing vocals. The orchestra sounded promising when it debuted but soon floundered. By 1941 it featured an entirely new line-up, including a Wee Bonnie Baker sound-alike by the name of Penny Banks. After a few failed dates in Boston, Nichols gave up the band, selling it to Anson Weeks in 1942. Nichols briefly found work as a member of the Casa Loma Orchestra before retiring to Hollywood, where he led several small groups throughout the rest of the 1940's and into the 1950's. The highly-fictional 1959 biographical film The Five Pennies, starring Danny Kaye (2), brought renewed interest in his career and prompted Nichols to put together a new Five Pennies.

  • Trumpet
  • Cornet
  • Jazz
  • Pop
  • Soundtrack
Popular Tracks   
Marianne on Red Nichols : Original 1929 Recordings by Red Nichols
The Peanut Vendor on Meet The Five Pennies by Red Nichols
I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful) on Presenting Red McKenzie by Red McKenzie
Get Cannibal on Red Nichols: A Tribute to His Music by Red Nichols
Indiana on Red Nichols : Original 1929 Recordings by Red Nichols
Indiana on Indiana by Red Nichols
My Gal Sal - Remastered on Anthology: The Deluxe Collection by Red Nichols
Basin Street Blues on Red Nichols : Original 1929 Recordings by Red Nichols
The Darktown Strutter's Ball on The Ultimate Jazz Archive 3 by Red Nichols
Nobody Knows (And Nobody Seems To Care) on Red Nichols : Original 1929 Recordings by Red Nichols

Track list and 30sec audio provided by

Band Members

Title Artist Year Type
The Complete Brunswick Recordings Of Red Nichols: Volumes 1, 2 & 3Red Nichols2011Compil.
The Complete Brunswick Recordings Of Red Nichols: Volumes 4, 5 & 6Red Nichols2011Compil.
The Complete Brunswick Recordings Of Red Nichols: Volumes 7, 8 & 9Red Nichols2011Compil.
Riverboat ShuffleRed Nichols2008Compil.
The Discovery Of JazzRed Nichols2004Compil.
1929Red Nichols2003Compil.
Morning GloryRed Nichols2001Compil.
Red Nichols And His PenniesRed Nichols1999Album
Wail Of The WindsRed Nichols1998Compil.
Strike Up The BandRed Nichols1998Compil.
Red Nichols & Miff Mole, 1925-1927Red Nichols & Miff Mole1998Compil.
Great Original Performances - 1925 To 1930Red Nichols And Miff Mole1994Compil.
New York Jazz In The Roaring TwentiesTommy Dorsey, Red Nichols, Jimmy Dorsey1994Compil.
Original 1929 RecordingsRed Nichols1991Album
The Roaring Twenties And All That JazzCalifornia Ramblers Featuring The Dorsey Brothers, Red Nichols1991Compil.
1923-1931Red Nichols, Phil Napoleon1990Compil.
Red & BenBen Pollack, Red Nichols1988Compil.
Together AgainBing Crosby And Red Nichols1988Album
Feelin' no PainRed Nichols1987Compil.
Great Original Performances - 1925 To 1930Red Nichols And Miff Mole1987Compil.
Black And Tan Fantasy / Wabash BluesDuke Ellington And His Orchestra / The Charleston Chasers Under The Dir. Of Red Nichols1986Album
Volume 5Red Nichols1986Compil.
New York Horns (1923-1931)Red Nichols & Phil Napoleon1986Compil.
Real Rare Red - Volume II: The Acoustical Years 1925-1927Red Nichols1984Compil.
Volume 4Red Nichols1984Compil.
1929 - 1931Jack Teagarden With Red Nichols1983Compil.
Red & Miff (1926-1931)Red Nichols And Miff Mole1982Compil.
The Greatest Recordings Of The Big Band EraGene Krupa / Wayne King / Red Nichols / Will Osborne1981Compil.
Volume 3Red Nichols1980Compil.
Real Rare RedRed Nichols1980Compil.
The Sounds Of New York Vol. 4 (1924-1930)Red Nichols1980Compil.
The Legendary Earl Baker Cylinders 1926 - Red Nichols Radio Transcriptions 1929-30Earl Baker, Red Nichols1979Compil.
Red Nichols with Sam Lanin's OrchestraRed Nichols1978Compil.
Jazz In a Vertical GrooveRed Nichols, Jimmy Dorsey, Phil Napoleon, Miff Mole1977Compil.
Sessions, LiveRed Nichols / Firehouse Five Plus Two1976Album
Volume 1Red Nichols1976Compil.
Sessions, LiveRed Nichols, Firehouse Five Plus Two1976Album
Early Red Nichols 1925-1927Red Nichols1975Compil.
1925-28: The Redheads - We Three - Sam Lanin - The Six HottentotsRed Nichols1973Compil.
Jazz Panorama Of The Twenties Vol. 2Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey & Red Nichols1971Compil.
1925-1928The Charleston Chasers With Miff Mole, Red Nichols, Jimmy Dorsey, Fud Livingston1970Compil.
Golden Age Of JazzRed Nichols1962Compil.
Drum Crazy (The Gene Krupa Story)Gene Krupa With Anita O'Day And Red Nichols1960Album
The Best Of Red NicholsRed Nichols1959Compil.
Meet The Five PenniesRed Nichols1959Album
Selmer SamplerRed Nichols1959Single
A Five Pennies SamplerRed Nichols1959Single
Lullaby In Ragtime / Battle Hymn Of The RepublicDanny Kaye - Eileen Wilson / Red Nichols - Louis Armstrong1959Single
The Immortal Louis ArmstrongLouis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Joe Venuti, Barney Bigard, Earl Hines, Red Nichols, Eddie Condon1951Compil.
A Handful Of Stars / Singin' The Blues / Dancing On The CeilingRay Noble And His Orchestra / Bobby Hackett And His Orchestra / Red Nichols1947Album
Birth Of The BluesBing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Phil Harris, Red Nichols1938Album
New York Jazz Of The Roaring 20'sRed Nichols And Miff MoleAlbum
Thesaurus Of Classic Jazz Volume 3Red Nichols And The Charleston ChasersCompil.
Kansas City, KansasRed NicholsAlbum
Jazz GalleryRed NicholsSingle
Great Jazz of 1930Rube Bloom And His Bayou Boys, Red Nichols, Gil RodinCompil.
A Red Nichols Story Vol. 1Red NicholsSingle
A Red Nichols Story - Volume 2Red NicholsSingle
The Five Pennies - Part 1Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong, Red NicholsSingle
Red Nichols' Pennies Class of '39Red NicholsAlbum
Delirium / I'm Coming, VirginiaThe Charleston Chasers Under The Dir. Of Red Nichols / Fletcher Henderson And His OrchestraAlbum
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