Posts Tagged ‘Jazz At The Philharmonic

25
feb
12

Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz For Justice (last episode).

Norman Granz - 1918 -2001.

This is the last blogpost about the live of  Norman Granz, based on the book “Norman Granz, The Man Who Used Jazz For Justice” by Tad Hershorn.

On November 22, 2001, Norman Granz died in bed in his Geneva appartment in the early hours of the morning. His tremendous contribution to the world of jazz will never be forgotten. As founder of the Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts which he rolled out in the USA, Europe and Japan, his innovative first live jazz recordings, the Clef, Norgran,Verve and Pablo labels he founded, his business management over decades for Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass, his commitment to numerous and famous jazz musicians, his involvement in the Montreux Jazz Festivals, one can say the world of jazz would have looked totally different without him.

As The Los Angeles Time wrote: “Norman Granz set the business of jazz through most of the twentieth century. He helped end the two-track system in which white players generally earned more than blacks and helped integrate jazz on a large commercial scale”. An extensive interview with author Tad Hershorn of the book cab be found on JazzWax. To close the circle, here is the famous Coleman Hawkins version of “Body and Soul”  which made Norman Granz a jazz fan when he heard this for the first time in his life.

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

28
jan
12

Oscar,Niels and Joe: The Trio.

As Norman Granz was the business manager of both Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass it was logical he would bring the two giants together on his new founded Pablo recording label. He did so by recording and releasing the album The Trio with Joe Pass and Niels Pedersen on doublebass. The albums showed how seamlessly Pass had combined his own playing with the highly competitive dialogue of Petersen and Pedersen. The album won a Grammy Award. Here is a video recorded twelve years later in Italy where the trio performs “Cake Walk”. It is a witness of the longtime period this fantastic trio worked together.

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

16
jan
12

“Delightful counterpoint and thrilling ballads – the last JATP US Tour

Jazz At The Philharmonic (Google / Life Images)

In the fall of 1957 Norman Granz organised the last JATP tour in the US. After fourteen succesful years the audience numbers had been down since the opening of  the show’s twenty-one city tour in New York in September that year. The Swing Era was coming to an end and new forms of jazz events like the Newport JazzFestival were emerging. For this last tour Granz had put together a stellar line up with Ella Fitzgerald, The Oscar Peterson Trio, J.J. Johnson, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and newcomers The Modern Jazz Quartet and tenorist Stan Getz. Especially the Stan Getz and J.J.Johnson combination was a big success  as can be heard on this recording of the last 1957 JATP tour in the US, of course on Granz’s own Verve Records label.

As a critic said:” Their [J.J.Johnson and Stan Getz] counterpoint was delightful and their individual ballads were thrilling”. They were accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Trio and MJQ’s drummer Connie Kay.

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

27
dec
11

Norman Granz introduces drum battles between Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.

Over the years, when taking Jazz At The Philharmonics on tour in the US and Europe, Norman Granz developed a format consisting of a number of key elements. First he employed a core group of musicians  from which he would choose per concert or tour. Participating were a.o. singers Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday and Helen Humes, saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Benny Carter, The Oscar Peterson Trio, pianist Hank Jones, trumpeter Roy Eldridge and drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Second, the format included standard sets with blues, a ballad medley, swing and modern, the latter being basically bebop at the time. Also an element of competitiveness was brought in by saxbattles and the grand finale joined by all musicians. A special item were the roaring drum battles between Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. In the YT video a registration of a great Krupa vs. Rich battle in the Sammy Davis Junior TV show.

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

17
dec
11

Jazz At The Philharmonic in Amsterdam 1958.

Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson arriving at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport.

“It’s finally going to happen”. With these words from his Beverley Hills headquarters, Norman Granz announced that he was about to start the first European tour of Jazz At The Philharmonic. Making the tour were Ella Fitzgerald, the Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and Irving Ashby, Flip Philips, Lester Young, Hank Jones and Max Roach. The tour started with two sold out concerts in Stocholm and went on to Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany. The tour was a great succes in every aspect. The YT video shows a JATP performance in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 1958. It is a well preserved recording by Dutch Television in both sound and vision. Norman Granz himself does the introduction.

“Eindelijk gaat het gebeuren”. Met deze woorden kondigde Norman Granz vanuit zijn hoofdkantoor in Berverley Hills aan dat hij op het punt stond de eerste Europese tournee van Jazz At The Philharomic  te starten. Aan de tournee namen deel Ella Fitzgerald, het Oscar Peterson Trio met Ray Brown en Irving Ashby, Flip Philips, Lester Young, Hank Jones and Max Roach. Het begon in Stockholm met twee uitverkochte concerten en ging daarna naar Denemarken, Holland, Belgie, Frankrijk, Zwitserland en Duitsland. De tournee was in elk opzicht een groot succes. De YT video toont een JATP optreden in het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam uit 1958. Het is een goed bewaarde opname in woord en beeld door de Nederlandse TV. Norman Granz zelf doet de introductie.

Bron / 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




Follow Bob's Jazz Blog. on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Voeg je bij 313 andere volgers

About Bob Van Eekhout

Bob van Eekhout drummer Jazz Trio JazzTraffic

Nederlands Jazz Archief

Logo Nederlands Jazz Archief

Van-Ons.nl WordPress Development

Van-Ons.nl WordPress Development & Training

JazzTraffic Trio. Uw Jazzband voor een gezellige sfeer en goede achtergrondmuziek

Jazz Trio JazzTraffic

%d bloggers liken dit: