Ken Nordine: 'Word Jazz'


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This is another installment in my ongoing series on jazz humor of the late 1950s. Past posts have included columns on Shorty Petterstein, Stan Freeberg, George Crater and the Nutty Squirrels. Back in the '50s, Ken Nordine (pronounced Nor—DEEN) was a leading voiceover specialist whose rich baritone could be heard on hundreds of radio and TV ads. He also was a jazz fan (and later rock) who recorded humorous and improvised recitation albums, starting with Word Jazz in 1957.

On his first, Word Jazz (Dot), Nordine sonorous pipes were backed by Paul Horn (fl,as,cl) Fred Katz (p,cello,arr,cond) John Pisano (g) Jimmy Bond (b) and Chico Hamilton (d,perc). For more on Nordine, who is still thriving, go here. Thanks to All About Jazz's big band editor Jack Bowers for sending Nordine along.

Here's Nordine's My Baby from Word Jazz...

Here's the Vidiot, from the same album...

Here's a visit with Ken Nordine from a year ago...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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