Ken Nordine

American recording and voiceover artist Ken Nordine was born January 20, 1920. Ken Nordine was born in Chicago, Illinois. He is the son an architect. He attended Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago and the University of Chicago. Beryl, his wife of 46 years, gave birth to three children. Many commercials have featured Nordine’s rich, powerful voice. One critic said that while you may not recognize Ken Nordine’s name or face, it is almost certain that you will recognize his voice. In 1957, he first attracted attention by recording the aural vignettes on Word Jazz on Dot. Word Jazz, Son of Word Jazz (Dot 1958) and other albums in the same vein feature Nordine’s narration set to a cool jazz background. Nordine was associated with poetry-and-jazz and began recording and performing such albums during the height of the beat movement. Nordine is considered an original hipster. His writings are closer to Edgar Allan Poe or Franz Kafka than other beats. His word jazz tracks often criticize societal norms. Others reveal paranoid undercurrents or bizarre, dream-like situations. Linda Blair’s vocal coach, Nordine, was Nordine. Word Jazz inspired Tom Waits’ spooky spoken word pieces such as “9th and Hennepin”, “Frank’s Wild Years,” and “What’s He Building?” Nordine’s previous radio shows were Word Jazz and Now Nordine. He hosts a weekly radio show and has a home in Chicago, Illinois, and Spread Eagle, Wisconsin. Nordine performed a series on television called Faces in the Window. Fred Astaire also danced to Nordine’s “My Baby” on a TV special. Not only has Ken inspired artists such as Tom Waits but he has also recorded with them. He has performed and recorded with Jerry Garcia, The Dead and Lori Anderson, just like Waits. He was also invited to perform at the Highline Festival in NYC (May 07), by David Bowie. Nordine’s art is constantly evolving. This is another interesting aspect of his life. Nordine has created a new series of computer graphics that is impressionistic and “State of the Art”, interwoven with Word Jazz. You can see some of his latest creations on UTube and on his website Text contributed by users is possible under the Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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