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Canadian Heritage

Norman Marshall Villeneuve


NORMAN MARSHALL VILLENEUVE (drums) was born May 29, 1938 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The outstanding drummer has long been recognized as a Canadian jazz icon who emits a spirited passion that is both exciting and contagious to anyone within earshot. A native of Montreal, this veteran player has a successful career history spanning more than five decades.

For over 30 years, he made his home in Toronto where he has earned a reputation as a 'father figure' to the younger generation of players. Villeneuve has played with a virtual legion of jazz greats including Duke Ellington, Junior Mance, and Oliver Jones. His 2002 release, Norman Marshall Villeneuve's Jazz Message, which features Dave Restivo, Kieran Overs, Jake Wilkinson, Ken Fornetran, and Shawn Hykwist, continues to enjoy critical and fan acclaim.

Norman Marshall Villeneuve appeared in the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series at the Ontario Science Centre on four separate occasions between 1980 and 1993 – as a member of the Terry Lukiwski Quartet on March 10, 1980, with the Martin Franklin Quartet on December 5, 1983, leading his own Norman Marshall Villeneuve Sextet on October 21, 1991, and as a member of the Ken Fornetran Quartet on March 22, 1993.

In 2012, the Norman Marshall Villeneuve Percussion Award was established at Humber College. Each year the NMV Award goes to a second year percussion student who demonstrates high academic achievement, leadership, excellent music ability, and a passion for jazz.

Villeneuve is very active, leading his own bands and playing with Oliver Jones and many others. He relocated to Montreal in late 2013.