Vic Berton

Vic Berton

From Wikipedia

Vic Berton (May 7, 1896 – December 26, 1951), was an American jazz drummer.

Berton was born, Victor Cohen, in Chicago. His father was a violinist and began his son on string instruments around age five. He was hired as a percussionist at the Alhambra Theaterin Milwaukee in 1903 when he was only seven years old. By age 16 he was playing with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. While serving inWorld War I he played drums for John Philip Sousa‘s Navy band.

Early in the 1920s Berton played in various Chicago bands, including those of Art KahnPaul Beise, and Arnold Johnson. He led his own ensemble as well, which played at the Merry Gardens club. In 1924 he became the manager of The Wolverines, and occasionally played alongside Bix Beiderbecke in the ensemble. Later in the 1920s he played with Roger Wolfe KahnDon Voorhees, and Red Nichols, and worked extensively as a session musician. In 1927 he played with Paul Whiteman, and then moved to Los Angeles later that year.

In Los Angeles Berton played with Abe Lyman and played in the studios for film soundtracks. He served as director of Paramount Films‘s music division for a time, and worked in theLos Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 1940s he worked as a percussionist in the studios for 20th Century Fox. He died in Hollywood from lung cancer.

Berton’s brother Ralph Berton also became a jazz drummer, in addition to his writings on jazz.


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