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Red Nichols

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Ernest Loring “Red” Nichols (May 8, 1905–June 28, 1965) a United States jazz cornet player, became one of the busiest phonograph session musicians of his era, making hundreds of recording sessions of jazz and hot dance band music. In the 1920s alone he 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, an excellent sight reader, was a considered a better, more polished musician.

Born in Utah, Nichols studied music under his father, a college music professor, and mastered a variety of instruments. After working in a number of pit orchestras, he joined a Midwestern band called The Syncopating Seven.

In 1923 Nichols moved to New York and soon teamed up with trombonist Miff Mole. 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 and His Molers, the Hottentots, and the Red Heads. These sessions at first featured trombonist Miff Mole with Jimmy Dorsey on alto and clarinet, and later in the decade featured a virtual who’s who of great white jazz musicians including Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jack Teagarden, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Adrian Rollini and Gene Krupa.

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