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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Norman Simmons


NORMAN SIMMONS (pianist, arranger, composer, educator) was born in Chicago in 1929. Simmons is best known as a consummate accompanist working with singers such as Carmen McCrae, Anita O’Day and his long time association with Joe Williams. Forming his own group in 1949 and recording in 1952, his tune “Jan” produced a hit for tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb. Through the 1950s he also led the house band at Chicago’s famous “Beehive” backing artists like Lester Young and Charlie Parker. He also wrote arrangements for Johnny Griffin’s band. As an educator he has taught at Paterson State College and with the “Jazzmobile” program in New York for 20 years.