Félix Award winner, band leader, recording artist and jazz master, hard driving bebop drummer NORMAN MARSHALL VILLENEUVE is an iconic and much beloved figure in Canadian jazz history. This veteran player has a successful career history, at 81, in his 8th decade in show business.
Norm was born in Montreal on May 29, 1938 and grew up in the St. Henri district, in the famed Little Burgundy area, home to Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones, the Sealy brothers, and Claude Ranger. He began his performance career as a tap dancer and singer, entertaining audiences from age 8. He studied piano at Union United Church with Daisy Peterson-Sweeney. With a natural talent for rhythm and love for jazz, at age 8 Norm began to teach himself how to play drums, avidly studying jazz legends Elvin Jones, Art Taylor, Philly Joe Jones, Shelly Manne and Art Blakey, to whom Norm has dedicated his life’s work.
At age 10 Norm made his debut at famed Union United Churchas a tap dancer and at 14, the bright and talented young teenager was tapped by seasoned musicians to play concerts and gigs around Montreal. When he came of age, in 1955, age 17 he played a CBC Radio concert series with Oliver Jones and Richard Parris, joining the Musician's Union. He worked the Montreal clubs - Arcade, Rockhead’s Paradise, Chez Paris, the Black Bottom and Café la Bohème, working with musicians like Oliver Jones, Charlie Biddle, Nelson Symonds, Allan Wellman. In the clubs he met jazz luminaries Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones and his hero, Art Blakey.