October 7, 1925|
New York City, New York, U.S.
October 19, 1992 (aged 67)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alvin Stoller (October 7, 1925 – October 19, 1992) was an American jazz drummer. Though he seems to have been largely forgotten, he was held in high regard in the 1940s and 1950s. He was best known for playing drums on both Mitch Miller's recording of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and Stan Freberg's parody of Miller's recording.
Born in New York City, Stoller studied with drum teacher Henry Adler and launched his career touring and recording with swing era big bands led by Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Charlie Barnet. He backed singers including Billie Holiday, Mel Tormé, and Frank Sinatra on some of their major recordings. His drums may be heard on many of Ella Fitzgerald's "Songbook" recordings; on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook, he performed with the Duke Ellington orchestra itself, alongside Ellington's own Sam Woodyard. From the moment Frank Sinatra started to record with Capitol Records in 1953, Stoller was the singer's preferred percussionist and performed on nearly all Sinatra recordings until 1958, including his classic albums such as "Wee Small Hours", "Songs For Swinging' Lovers", "Come Fly With Me" and many others.
Stoller also recorded with Art Tatum, Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster (see Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster), Benny Carter, Herb Ellis, and Erroll Garner among many other jazz greats. In the 1950s, Stoller settled in the Los Angeles area, where he became respected for his work in the Hollywood studios, lasting for several decades. Leonard Feather considered him a "first-rate, swinging drummer". That Buddy Rich, whom some consider to have been the greatest of all jazz drummers, chose Stoller to play drums on an album in which Rich himself sang suggests the esteem Stoller earned from his fellow musicians.
Stoller played snare drum and received label credit for "Yankee snare drumming", on Stan Freberg's version of Mitch Miller's "Yellow Rose of Texas", in which his loud playing interrupts the singer, Freberg. Stoller had played the prominent snare on the original Mitch Miller recording.
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With Georgie Auld
- In the Land of Hi-Fi with Georgie Auld and His Orchestra (EmArcy, 1955)
With Buddy Bregman
- Swinging Kicks (Verve, 1957)
With Bing Crosby and Buddy Bregman
- Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings (Verve, 1956)
With Sammy Davis Jr
- It's All Over but the Swingin' (Decca, 1957)
With Harry Edison
With Roy Eldridge
- Porgy and Bess (Verve, 1957)
- With Coleman Hawkins
- Coleman Hawkins and Confrères (Verve, 1958)
With Phineas Newborn, Jr.
- While My Lady Sleeps (RCA Victor, 1957)
With Pete Rugolo
With Mel Torme
- Mel Torme Sings Fred Astaire (Bethlehem, 1956)
- Ellis in Wonderland (Norgran, 1956)
- Ridgway, John (1991). Sinatrafile: Part 2. John Ridgway Books. ISBN 978-0905808086.
- Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira, eds. (1999). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press. p. 625. ISBN 978-0195074185.
- Korall, Burt (1990). Drummin' Men: The Heartbeat of Jazz The Swing Years. Schirmer Books. pp. 250–251. ISBN 978-0028720005.
- "Marriages". Billboard. October 13, 1951. p. 42. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved April 9, 2018.