Norman Simmons (musician)

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Norman Simmons (born October 6, 1929[1][2]) is an American arranger, composer, educator, and most prominently a pianist who has worked extensively with Helen Humes, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O'Day, and Joe Williams among others.[3][4]


Simmons was born in Chicago on October 6, 1929.[1] In 1966 his arrangement for Ramsey Lewis' hit of "Wade in the Water" became a large commercial success.[1] He was a member of the Ellington Legacy Band beginning in 2002.[4]


As leader[edit]

  • Norman Simmons Trio (Argo, 1956)
  • Ramira The Dancer (Spotlite, 1976)
  • Midnight Creeper (Milljac, 1979)
  • I'm...The Blues (Milljac, 1981)
  • 13th Moon (Milljac, 1986)
  • The Heat And The Sweet (Milljac, 1997)
  • The Art Of Norman Simmons (Savant, 2000) - with Eric Alexander
  • Manha De Carnaval (Sound Hills [Japan], 2002)
  • Synthesis (Savant, 2002) - with Eric Alexander
  • In Private (Savant, 2004)

As sideman[edit]

With Johnny Griffin

With Red Holloway

With Carmen McRae

  • Sings Lover Man and Other Billie Holiday Classics (Philips, 1962)
  • Live at Sugar Hill San Francisco (Time, 1963)
  • Second to None (Mainstream, 1964)
  • Woman Talk, Live at the Village Gate (Mainstream, 1965)
  • Live & Wailing (Mainstream, 1965, reissued with Woman Talk on Columbia, 1973)
  • Carmen McRae (Mainstream, 1971)

With Betty Carter

With Roy Eldridge

  • What It's All About (Pablo, 1976)

With Harold Ousley

  • The People's Groove (Muse, 1977)
  • Sweet Double Hipness (Muse, 1980)

With Anita O'Day

  • Anita O'Day with John Poole Trio Featuring Norman Simmons - Live at Mingo's (Emily, 1979)

With Scott Hamilton and Warren Vaché

With Clifford Jordan, Von Freeman, Cy Touff, Victor Sproles, and Wilbur Campbell

With Joe Williams

  • Joe Williams & Friends June 1985 - I Just Want to Sing (Delos, 1985)
  • Every Night: Live At Vine St. (Verve, 1987)
  • In Good Company (Verve, 1989)
  • That Holiday Feelin' (Verve, 1990)
  • Ballad And Blues Master (Verve, 1992)

With Al Grey and Bjarne Nerem

  • Al Meets Bjarne (Gemini, 1987)

As arranger[edit]

With Johnny Griffin

With Teri Thornton


  1. ^ a b c Wynn, Ron "Norman Simmons biography." allmusic. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  2. ^ "Norman Simmons biography." Jazz Biographies. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  3. ^ Porter, Bob (1981). Helen (LP). Helen Humes. Muse Records. MR 5233. 
  4. ^ a b "Piano in the Parlour - Norman Simmons Trio April 11th." Hackettstown Business Improvement District. Retrieved March 1, 2011.