Posts Tagged ‘Granz

13
feb
12

Basie’s jam with Ray and Jimmy in “Nob’s Blues”.

Through his involvement in the famous Montreux Jazz Festivals Norman Granz used the ample opportunities the festival gave him to promote his Pablo musicians. As someone said, “Granz is not an innovator but a popularizer”. That remains to be seen in the light of history but fact of the matter is that through Montreux he used a lot of commercial opportunities like selling records and video’s / DVD’s of the festival. In 1977 he put together a group of musicians lead by Count Basie. In this video we hear the announcement of Norman Granz introducing the Basie Trio with Ray Brown and drummer Jimmie Smith in a brilliant jam playing Nob’s Blues.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

12
feb
12

Norman Granz introduces the Clark Terry Sextet at The Montreux Jazz Festival.

Ella and Norman (on the background Joe Pass)

In 1975 Norman Granz got heavily involved in the Montreux Jazz Festival In Switzerland when director Claude Nobs gave Granz three nights of programming as a showcase for his Pablo Records artists. The Montreux Casino was equipped with television capabilities, so the proceedings were videotaped. Granz’ involvement in Montreux lasted till 1983 during which period he relased video’s and recordings of this main jazz event. In the video below we see a group of musicians performing in Montreux in the best JATP tradition. It is The Clark Terry Sextet with Terry on flugelhorn, Milt Jackson (vibes), Joe Pass (guitar), Ronnie Scott (tenorsax), Oscar Peterson (piano), Niels-Henning Pedersen (double bass) and Bobby Durham (drums) in a nice swinging composition called ” Minor Blues”.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

06
feb
12

Last JATP concert Tokyo 1983.

In 1983 the Jazz At The Philharmonic series came to an end after Norman Granz started the first JATP in 1944 in Los Angeles. The concerts were held in Japan by invitation of a large Japanese music publisher. JATP had toured Japan a number of times and Granz selected the musicians which had been JATP core members for so long, Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson. The line up was completed with Joe Pass, Harry Edison, Clark Terry, Zoot Zims, Eddy ‘Lockjaw” Davis and J.J. Johnson. Listen to this incredible version of ‘On Danish Shore” with Oscar Peterson’s Big 4 with Joe Pass, Niels Pedersen en Martin Drew.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

01
feb
12

Norman’s idea: Sarah’s duets with Oscar, Joe, Ray and Louie

In 1978 Norman Granz contracted Sarah Vaughan for his Pablo jazz label. He felt that this great singer did not get the chance enough to record material in line with her talent and skills. That year he released “How Long Has This been Going On” where she was accompanied by Granz’ veterans Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, Ray Brown and Louie Bellson. Again Granz showed his great producer skills  by suggesting that Sarah should sing duets with each of the quartet members: “More Than You Know” with Peterson, “My Old Flame” with Pass, “Body And Soul” with Brown and “When Your Lover Has Gone” with Bellson. Listen in below video’s to these four brilliant duets where the original compositions are “re-written” by Sarah and the musicians.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

Duet with Oscar Peterson “More Than You Know” (with Peterson making a reference to “Concierto de Aranjuez” in the intro)

Duet met Joe Pass “My Old Flame”

Duet with Ray Brown “Body And Soul”.

Duet with Louie Bellson “When Your Lover Has Gone”.

26
jan
12

“Piano players do it.Segovia does it”.

Joe Pass (1929 - 1994)

“Piano players do it. Segovia does it !”. That’s what Norman Granz said in 1973 to guitarist Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua” who was somewhat reluctant to record an album with solo jazz guitar. Joe Pass, as he was called, had behind him a life of heroine addiction and spent years in hospitals and a rehabilitation facility when in 1972 he got a visit from Norman Granz and Oscar Peterson when he worked in Donte’s, a jazzclub in Hollywood. Both men were highly impressed by Pass’s command of the instrument and his inventive melodic approach. Granz contracted Pass for his just founded Pablo label and had him record the Virtuosoalbum in three days. It became one the label’s all-time top sellers. Peep this video and listen to Joe Pass’s formidable musicianship.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

20
jan
12

“I’m afraid Duke that I’ve had it with you”

“I’m afraid Duke that I’ve had it with you” comes from a letter that Norman Granz wrote to Duke Ellington April 11 1967. After Granz stopped the JATP tours in the US he concentrated on his management for Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson, organizing JATP tours in Europe and producing jazz albums for Verve records. Granz also started to work for and with Ellington. Their relationship resulted in a number of projects like the film Jazz on A Summer’s Day in 1966, tours in Europa and albums. However their relationship deteriorated as Granz felt that Ellington treated him merely as a servant rather than a manager. In the same letter Granz asked Ellington to hire “a new so called manager”. But in 1965 things were OK and they worked on the album “Ella at Duke’s Place and here is an incredible swinging live version of Ella and Duke’s band in “Sweet Georgia Brown”.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

10
jan
12

A smash hit: Ella Fitzgerald sings Cole Porter.

Google / Life Images

Next to his activities as JATP impressario and record producer, Norman Granz became in 1954 the personal manager for Ella Fitzgerald. Until then Ella had performed mostly in clubs and ballrooms but Granz believed he could take her to a higher level. And he did. In 1955 he signed Ella for his own Verve record label and started one of their great successes: “The Cole Porter Songbook”. It became a thirty-two-song, two-LP set and was an instant hit with over hundred thousand copies sold. It went to #15 on the Billboard charts and # 2 by the Downbeat poll of best-selling jazz albums. Granz insisted that Ella would sing verses where applicable. Verses were normally left out by singers, with the exception of Sinatra. Ella reluctantly agreed as it meant extra work and rehearsal but it al worked out. After the album was finished Granz went to Cole Porter in his Waldorf Astoria appartment in New York and played him the entire album.  Porter was delighted and said “My what marvelous diction that girl has”.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

05
jan
12

Norman Granz records Charlie Parker with Strings.

While Norman Granz successfully grew his JATP business he also did very well as a record producer. He was not afraid of putting money in projects which were questionable in as much they would be commercially a hit. In 1956 he founded Verve records in which he folded his earlier founded Clef, Norgran and Down Home labels. Verve would become one of the most successful independent jazzlabels. The Charlie Parker with Strings project was a controversial project. Granz later said he talked Charlie Parker into doing it whereas Parker said he had already wanted to do this way back in the forties and that Granz finally let him do it and put up the money. The album was praised and critizised but everybody seems in agreement that Just Friends is a great version by Charlie Parker with Ray Brown and Buddy Rich in the rythm section.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – University of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

03
jan
12

Norman Granz records the genius of Art Tatum.

Art Tatum (1909 - 1956)

Apart from his work as impressario of the Jazz At The Philharmonic Concerts, Norman Granz developed a carreer as record producer. In 1947 he founded the Clef label, which became a subdivision of Mercury Records but Granz kept ownership of the master tapes. End of 1953 he started a project to record 120 solo’s played by Art Tatum. Tatum was a formidable pianist who was praised for his unprecedented technique and brilliant creativity in terms of harmonies and cord changes. Oscar Peterson is believed to have said about him “he scares me to death”. In the first session an astonishing sixtynine tunes were recorded in four hours, all in one take, except one. In 1955 the recordings were issued as fourteen single albums of three boxed sets titledThe Genius of Art Tatum and later reissued as “The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces”.

Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – Univerity of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4

14
dec
11

Norman Granz takes Jazz at the Philharmonic on tour.


JATP on tour with a.o. Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Krupa (front in the middle), Buddy Rich (behind Ella), Norman Granz (behind Buddy), Oscar Peterson (with hat on the staircase) and Ray Brown (top of the staircase)

After organizing a small tour in January 1946 which failed because JATP was unknown outside of Los Angeles, Norman Granz organised a second tour in April 1946. He  was better prepaired this time and it became a big succes. The tour started in Los Angeles and was announced as ‘The Battle of Saxes” with saxofonists Willie Smith, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and Lester Young. Organising a tour with a mixed ensemble was a challenge for Granz who only arranged venues, hotels and restaurants that would allow black and white musicians. In his contracts Granz  introduced by default a clause that said: “it is the essence of this agreement that there is to be no discrimination whatsoever in the sale of tickets and there is to be no segregation of white from Negroes”. That became less of a problem when the tours started to be financially succesful but in Southern states there were venue owners that refused to accept the contract clause. Granz made sure that the musicians were well paid, had the best hotels and restaurants and transportation was by air as much as possible. On the YT video  you can hear the opening night of this tour with the “Battle Of Saxes” in George Gershwin’s “I Got Rythm”.

Nadat hij in 1946 een kleine tournee organiseerde die mislukte omdat JATP buiten Los Angeles niet bekend was, organiseerde Norman Granz een tweede tournee in April 1946. Deze keer was hij beter voorbereid en het werd een groot succes. De tour startte in Los Angeles en werd aangekondigd als “The Battle of Saxes” met de saxofonisten Willie Smith, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker en Lester Young. Het organiseren van een tournee met een gemengd gezelschap was een uitdaging voor Granz die zalen, hotels en restaurants alleen regelde als die zowel zwarte als blanke musici toelieten. Granz introduceerde in zijn contracten een standaardclausule: “ de essentie van dit contract is dat er bij de verkoop van kaartjes op geen enkele wijze gediscrimineerd zal worden en er geen  scheiding zal zijn tussen blanken en negers”. Dat probleem werd minder nadat de tournee’s financieel succesvol werden maar in de Zuidelijke staten waren zaaleigenaren die de clausule niet accepteerden. Granz zorgde ervoor dat de musici goed betaald werden, dat ze de beste hotels en restaurants hadden en het vervoer ging zoveel mogelijk door de lucht. Op de YT video is de opening van de tournee te horen met “The Battle of Saxes” in George Gershwin’s “I Got Rythm”.

Bron / Source: Hershorn, Ted  – Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice – Univerity of California Press 2011 – ISBN 978-0-520-26782-4




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