Red Norvo: Beardstown’s giant of jazz

Red Norvo’s impact on music cannot be overstated. Yet, it is quite likely that you never have heard of this giant among jazz artists.

Norvo was born Joseph Kenneth Norville in Beardstown on March 31, 1908, into a home that was filled with music. His father, Joseph, was an accomplished pianist who was a dispatcher for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. His mother, Estelle, played the trumpet. At the age of 6, young Kenneth (thanks to his mother’s preference, the lad went by his middle name) began piano lessons.

However, these lessons were cut short when the piano teacher discovered Kenneth was memorizing his lessons by listening to his brother Howard play rather than reading the music in front of him. &nbsp;&nbsp;<ahref=""><spanstyl... 13px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.</span></a></p>