Red Nichols and his Five Pennies

(1929 Vitaphone short)

Red Nichols

Cornetist Ernest Loring “Red” Nichols was born May 8, 1905, in Ogden, Utah.

The son of a music professor, he was already taking the difficult parts in his father’s brass band at the age of 12.

Early colleagues included Miff Mole, Benny Goodman, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, and Jack Teagarden and he is reputed to have appeared on over 4,000 recordings.

After taking a break from the music business during WW II, he returned to leading bands. A biopic (“The Five Pennies”) loosely based on his life starring Danny Kaye revitalized his career.

Originally from Ogden, Utah Red Nichols arrived in New York in 1923 as a member of the “Johnny Johnson Orchestra.” There, teaming up with trombonist Miff Mole, his ability to read music and formidable horn skills got him plenty of session work.

Nichols would go on to produce recordings with a strong emphasis on collective improvisation that represent some of the most progressive jazz of the 1920s.

This 1929 Vitaphone short features cornetist Red Nichols and his “Five Pennies” a band whose members include legends Pee Wee Russell clarinet, and Eddie Condon tenor guitar & vocals.

Song List:

1 “Ida”
2 “Whispering”
3 “Nobodys Sweet Heart Now”
4 “Who Cares?”
5 “China Boy”

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