Reference Entry

Riddle, Nelson (jazz)

Mark Tucker

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2002 |
Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(Smock )

(b Oradell, NJ, June 1, 1921; d Los Angeles, Oct 6, 1985). American composer, arranger, and leader. His middle name is taken from the California death index. In the 1940s he worked as a trombonist and arranger for big bands, including those of the clarinetist Jerry Wald, Tommy Dorsey (from May 1944), Bob Crosby, and Charlie Spivak. Later he wrote arrangements and led backup orchestras for such jazz and popular singers as Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Nat “King” Cole, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, with whom he collaborated on the album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook (1963, Verve 84060). He is best known for his association with Frank Sinatra, whose success in the late 1950s owed much to Riddle’s arrangements; some of these were slow and introspective, others vigorous and swinging. Riddle occasionally led his own groups, and around 1957 he recorded the album ...

Reference Entry.  243 words. 

Subjects: Jazz

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