Nick Ceroli, Drummer Known for Versatility, Dies at 45


Nick Ceroli, a veteran drummer equally comfortable driving the raucous rhythm section of Stan Kenton’s big band or quietly accompanying a trio led by guitarist Barney Kessel, died at his Studio City home Sunday, apparently of a heart attack.

Ceroli was 45. A native of Niles, Ohio, he studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music before joining Ray Anthony’s band in the late 1950s. He later worked with Lionel Hampton, Terry Gibbs and Kenton, before joining Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in 1965.

He left that group after five years and toured with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme and Vikki Carr. He appeared periodically on “The Tonight Show” and performed regularly with the Mort Lindsey orchestra on “The Merv Griffin Show.”


Most recently he had done studio work with the bands of Zoot Sims, Bob Florence, Dee Barton and Don Menza. His last public appearance was earlier this month with Kessel at the Sunset Hyatt.

Ceroli leaves a son, Michael; his father, Nick Sr., and two sisters. Funeral services are pending.