This year marks Art Blakey’s 100th birthday. He was born October 11, 1919, and died October 16, 1990. Norman has been performed Art Blakey Tributes annually since November 1990, shortly after Mr. Blakey’s death. Norman is passionate about Art Blakey’s style and even met him and was friends with him in Montreal.
Félix Award winner, band leader, recording artist and jazz master, hard driving bebop drummer Norman Marshall Villenueve is an iconic and much beloved figure in Canadian jazz history. This veteran player has a successful career history spanning more than six decades.
Norm has worked with a legion of jazz greats, including Duke Ellington, Oliver Jones, Junior Mance, Cootie Williams, Curtis Fuller, Dave Young, Julius Watkins, Frank Motley, Jackie McLean, Ray Draper, Jay McShann, Anita O’Day, Blossom Dearie, Renee Lee, Charlie Biddle, Nelson Symonds, Ivan Symonds, Maxine Sullivan, Charlie Rouse, Booker Irvin, Big Big Miller, “Wild Bill” Davison, Jack McDuff, Bill McBirnie, Bernie Senensky, Pat Labarbara, Jane Bunnett, Alex Dean, Reg Schwager and Jackie Richardson.
Under his banner, “Norman Marshall Villeneuve’s Jazz Message” he has brought along and given innumerable performance opportunities to a new generation including Robi Botos, Mike Downes, Grant Stewart, Eric Boucher, David Restivo, Bob Brough, Artie Roth, Gord Webster, Brownman Ali and Brian Chahley.
In 2013 Norm returned to his home town of Montreal where he continues his life’s work, playing with the pure passion and excitement for which he is known. With an outstanding career of more than 60 years, in his 7th decade as a professional musician, Norm remains an active and respected leader on the Canadian jazz scene.