Drummer from New York City who lied about his age to get into the union when he was fourteen years old and cut his teeth in the Catskills.
He spent much of the early part of his career on the road, and worked with artists such artists as Mildred Bailey, Les Brown, Larry Clinton, Tommy Dorsey, and Red Norvo. In 1947, he made the great egress to L.A. and before long was recording with jazz giants such as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Some of his earliest recordings can be heard on Chronological Bing Crosby, Vol. 48: 1948-49.
It didn’t hurt that Nelson Riddle took a shine to him. The arranger and bandleader requested Irving’s services in the fall of 1953 to record with Frank Sinatra on his album, Songs for Young Lovers. In 1956, he also appeared on Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! Pretty soon, other jazz-pop artists caught wind of Irving, including Sinatra’s fellow Rat-Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Bobby Darin and Mel Torme also used him on some sets.
In 1961, he appeared on the Errol Garner double album, Closeup in Swing/A New Kind of Love. Other albums he performed on in the ’60s include Frankly Basie: Count Basie Plays the Hits of Frank Sinatra, Doris Day’s Love Album, and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook. He also spent a dozen years as a member of the band on Dinah Shore’s TV show.
In 1978, he appeared on Ray Charles’ self-titled album. The following year, he re-united with Sinatra on his boxed set, Trilogy.
Irving passed away on 8th August 1989 in Rancho Mirage, California.
Other recordings on which he was featured during his illustrious career include Around the World in Percussion, Sinatra and Sextet: Live in Paris, and Mel Torme’s Bethlehem Years.
Here’s Frank Sinatra’s “How About You” from his Songs for Swingin’ Lovers which Irving performed on….