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Irv Cottler

Born: February 13th, 1918
Deceased: August 8th, 1989
Passed at 72 years old

Last Updated: 12/28/2009 | Viewed 3957 times

Irv Cottler was one of the most respected and prolific session drummers of the big-band era. No less an authority than Frank Sinatra called him "the best in the business." Born February 13, 1918, in New York City, Cottler grew up in the same neighborhood as pioneering bandleader Raymond Scott. At 14, he falsified his age to acquire a musician's union card, and honed his chops playing the Catskills resort circuit. After stints with Red Norvo and Mildred Bailey, Cottler toured California behind Claude Thornhill, vowing to ultimately relocate cross-country. Stints with Larry Clinton, Tommy Dorsey, and Les Brown followed, but in 1947 he finally retired from the road and settled in Los Angeles. A first-call session drummer renowned for his impeccable timekeeping, Cottler recorded behind immortals including Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald. A personal favorite of arranger Nelson Riddle, in November 1953 he was summoned by Riddle to play on what would become Sinatra's first LP for Capitol Records, the now-classic Songs for Young Lovers. Cottler quickly emerged as Sinatra's drummer of choice, and he remained with Ol' Blue Eyes in various studio and tour incarnations for more than 30 years. Crooners Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Mel Tormé, and Bobby Darin sought out Cottler's services as well, and for the Somerset label he headlined the exotica cult classic Around the World in Percussion. He was also a staple of film and television, highlighted by a 12-year stint with The Dinah Shore Show's house band. Cottler died in Rancho Mirage, CA, on August 8, 1989. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

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