Red Nichols (1905-1965)
(2008 INDUCTEE) IN 1922, JAZZ CORNETIST LORING “RED” NICHOLS MADE HIS RECORDING DEBUT IN RICHMOND. HIS MANY LATER RELEASES FROM GENNETT’S NEW YORK STUDIO ANTICIPATED A REMARKABLY PRODUCTIVE CAREER.
DEDICATED TO WAYNE VINCENT, RESTORER OF THE GENNETT MANSION AND MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR IN REUNITING THE GENNETT DECENDENTS, BY LAUREL MARTIN
Loring “Red” Nichols was one of the most significant cornetists of the 1920s. Born in Ogden, Utah, he studied cornet with his father, who taught music in college. An expert technician and sight-reader, Nichols also had his own crisp sound which was influenced by 1925 to an extent by Bix Beiderbecke. Nichols appeared on literally thousands of recordings during 1924-32, and recorded for nearly every label during the 1920s. He was part of the jazzy dance group Bailey’s Lucky Seven during 1924-26 which recorded extensively for Gennett. Nichols’ lone session in Richmond, Indiana, was also his recording debut with The Syncopatin’ Five. On November 22, the band recorded three titles for Gennett: “Chicago,” “Toot-Toot-Tootsie,” and “Strutting At The Strutters’ Ball”. These were private recordings, with the musicians actually paying Gennett $25 so they could receive 25 copies apiece of the ’78.’
Red Nichols was part of the Syncopating Seven when they performed at the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City under the name of the Royal Palm Orchestra. When the group returned to Indiana, he chose to stay in New York. Nichols, who also appeared with dance bands, big bands, and radio orchestras, had a lower profile by the mid-1930s, although he led a big band during part of the swing era. He made a comeback in the mid-1940s with a new, dixieland-oriented version of the Five Pennies, and stayed active up until his 1965 death.
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