John Norris

John Norris. Critic, editor, broadcaster, promoter, record producer, b West Clandon, Surrey, England, 9 Jan 1934; d Toronto 31 Jan 2010. While a clerk in London, he operated his first jazz club. Moving to Canada, he operated the Montreal Traditional Jazz Society 1956-7.

John Norris. Critic, editor, broadcaster, promoter, record producer, b West Clandon, Surrey, England, 9 Jan 1934; d Toronto 31 Jan 2010. While a clerk in London, he operated his first jazz club. Moving to Canada, he operated the Montreal Traditional Jazz Society 1956-7. In 1957 he settled in Toronto, where he operated the Traditional Jazz Club of Toronto, opened the Galleon jazz club, and promoted concerts. In 1958 he established the magazine Coda, serving until 1976 as editor and thereafter (with Bill Smith) as co-publisher. Norris was the manager 1962-8 of the jazz department of the Sam the Record Man store on Yonge St., Toronto, and developed there one of the most extensive stocks of jazz recordings in the world, rivalled later by the combined retail and mail-order operation of the Jazz and Blues Centre, which Norris and Smith established in 1970.

A leading authority on jazz, Norris wrote extensively for Coda through to the 1990s, and contributed to the magazines Jazz Journal, Jazz Monthly, Jazz News, and Melody Maker (all of London), Down Beat (Chicago), International Musician (New York), and Music Scene and Canadian Composer (Toronto). He was jazz critic for the Globe and Mail in 1967, contributed to the Toronto Telegram and the Toronto Daily Star, and was a radio jazz program host and/or writer 1958-61 on Toronto radio station CHFI, and in the 1960s and early 1970s on the CBC (eg, "Strictly Jazz" and "That Midnight Jazz"). He prepared a jazz history series broadcast on the CBC's "Jazz Radio-Canada" in the summer of 1978. In the early 1980s, he also acted as booking agent, eg for Café des Copains.

Norris produced or co-produced many albums for Sackville Recordings, a label he, Smith, and others established in 1968 in Toronto.

See alsoToronto Feature: Yonge and Edward St.