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 Theater in 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 in World 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 Kahn, Paul 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 Kahn, Don 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 the Los 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.
Birth and Death Data: Born May 7th, 1896 (Chicago), Died Hollywood
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1923 - 1938
Roles Represented in DAHR: drums, songwriter, composer
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 41 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||B-28432||10-in.||8/17/1923||Sobbin' blues||Benson Orchestra of Chicago ; Don Bestor||Jazz/dance band||songwriter|
|Victor||B-28886||10-in.||11/7/1923||That lullaby strain||Benson Orchestra of Chicago ; Don Bestor||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||B-29828||10-in.||4/3/1924||Blue evening blues||Paul Biese Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||PBS-09934||10-in.||1/13/1938||The one I love||Allan Jones ; Nathaniel Shilkret||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Victor||PBS-09935||10-in.||1/13/1938||The donkey serenade||Allan Jones ; Nathaniel Shilkret||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Victor||PBS-09936||10-in.||1/13/1938||Giannina mia||Allan Jones ; Nathaniel Shilkret||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Victor||PBS-09937||10-in.||1/13/1938||Cosi cosa||Allan Jones ; Nathaniel Shilkret||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Victor||BS-023276||10-in.||5/24/1938||Sobbin' blues||Art Kassel ; Kassels-in-the-Air Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||songwriter|
|Victor||BS-028340||10-in.||10/28/1938||Sobbin' blues||Les Brown Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||songwriter|
|Victor||BS-028793||10-in.||10/29/1938||Sobbin' blues||Vernon Geyer||Electric organ solo||songwriter|
|Victor||BS-030300||10-in.||11/22/1938||Sobbin' blues||Bunny Berigan Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||songwriter|
|Columbia||81306||10-in.||10/16/1923||Sobbin' blues||Art Kahn Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||songwriter|
|Columbia||81390||10-in.||12/7/1923||Blue evening blues||Art Kahn Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Columbia||81615||10-in.||3/6/1924||That lullaby strain||Frank Westphal Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Columbia||W150490||10-in.||4/24/1930||Sobbin' blues||Ted Lewis and his Band||Jazz/dance band||songwriter|
|OKeh||8394||10-in.||June 1923||Sobbin' blues||King Oliver’s Jazz Band||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|OKeh||S-73449||10-in.||June 1925||Sobbin' blues||Fred Hall ; Sugar Babies||Jazz/dance band||songwriter|
|OKeh||W80338||10-in.||1/26/1927||Alexander's ragtime band||Miff Mole's Molers||Jazz/dance quintet||instrumentalist, drums|
|OKeh||W80339||10-in.||1/26/1927||Some sweet day||Miff Mole's Molers||Jazz/dance quintet||instrumentalist, drums|
|OKeh||W80340||10-in.||1/26/1927||Hurricane||Miff Mole's Molers||Jazz/dance quartet||instrumentalist, drums|
|OKeh||W81296||10-in.||8/30/1927||Imagination||Little Molers ; Miff Mole||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, drums|
|OKeh||W81297||10-in.||8/30/1927||Feelin' no pain||Little Molers ; Miff Mole||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, drums|
|OKeh||W81298||10-in.||8/30/1927||Original Dixieland one-step||Little Molers ; Miff Mole||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, drums|
|OKeh||W81413||10-in.||9/1/1927||My gal Sal||Little Molers||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, drums|
|OKeh||W81414||10-in.||9/1/1927||Honolulu blues||Little Molers ; Miff Mole||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, drums|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Berton, Vic," accessed October 29, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111079.
Berton, Vic. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111079.
"Berton, Vic." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 29 October 2020.
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