Émile Normand

Normand, Émile or 'Cisco' (Roland). Drummer, vibraphonist, composer, painter, b Windsor, Ont, 21 Nov 1936. He studied piano, trumpet, and vibraphone in Windsor and Detroit and played in a dance band led by his mother in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Normand, Émile

Normand, Émile or 'Cisco' (Roland). Drummer, vibraphonist, composer, painter, b Windsor, Ont, 21 Nov 1936. He studied piano, trumpet, and vibraphone in Windsor and Detroit and played in a dance band led by his mother in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After working in Detroit jazz clubs with Yusef Lateef, Donald Byrd, and others in the late 1950s, he moved to Montreal in 1960 and was a central figure in that city's burgeoning jazz and studio scenes during the following decade. He accompanied many musicians (eg, Nick Ayoub, Pierre Leduc, and Art Roberts) as a drummer and led his own groups (often combining Latin music and jazz) as a vibraphonist in jazz clubs and concerts in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec. He was heard in both capacities on CBC radio's 'Jazz en liberté'.

Normand was less active in jazz during the 1970s, working instead with the popular performers Georges Dor, André Gagnon, Pauline Julien, Claude Léveillée (with whom he toured in the USSR in 1968), and Monique Leyrac, and playing in theatre and ballet orchestras (eg, for the Montreal production of Hair in 1970 and for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens on tour in the USA in 1972). Returning intermittently to jazz in the 1980s, he was heard in local clubs and appeared at the FIJM - eg, with the Michel Donato Quintet that won the Concours de jazz de Montréal in 1982, with Oscar Peterson in concert with the MSO in 1984, and as a member of groups led by Pepper Adams, Mose Allison, and Charles Papasoff in other years.

Normand has composed several pieces for his jazz groups (eg, Rudy and Me, Hustle, Basics Ingredients, Michel's Line, and S.T.P.) and was one of the first musicians in Canada (ca 1960) to play the then avant-garde compositions of the US saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Normand has interrupted his career on several occasions to work outside of music. As a visual artist he has painted under contract to Eaton's of Canada.


Further Reading

  • Canadian Jazz Discography

    Gilmore, John. Who's Who of Jazz in Montreal: Ragtime to 1970 (Montreal 1989)