Norman Granz and Verve Records (1944 - 1962)

Russell Perry By

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In July 2, 1944, Norman Granz, a jazz fan and small-time LA promoter staged a concert in the Philharmonic Auditorium with $300 of borrowed money. His "Jazz at the Philharmonic" concerts were hugely successful and became tours that ran until 1957. These tours and the record labels they spawned—Clef, Norgran and especially Verve—became home to many of the great players of the 1950s, often mainstream players who had a lot of music left to play, but were not necessarily at the cutting edge of the rapidly evolving music. The availability of this music played a key role in building a market for the continued appreciation of mainstream players like Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster and Art Tatum.


  • Host Intro 0:00
  • Jazz at the Philharmonic "Bugle Call Rag" from Jazz at the Philharmonic, Vol. 5 (Mercury) 3:50
  • Jazz At The Philharmonic "Trav'lin' Light" from Lady in Autumn: The Best of the Verve Years (Verve) 8:22
  • Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra "I Wished on the Moon" from Songs for Distingue Lovers (Verve) 11:48
  • Host speaks 15:11
  • Ben Webster Quintet "Tenderly" from King of the Tenors (Norgran) 16:59
  • Coleman Hawkins Quintet. "Ill Wind" from Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster (Verve) 20:01
  • Host speaks 25:33
  • Art Tatum "Taboo" from The Genius of Art Tatum #5 (Clef) 28:24
  • Art Tatum "Jitterbug Waltz" from Jazz Piano—A Smithsonian Collection (Smithsonian) 31:12
  • Host speaks 34:58
  • Oscar Peterson Trio "Georgia on My Mind" from Night Train (Verve)
  • Host speaks 39:45
  • Louis Armstrong "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails" from The Jazz Singers (Smithsonian) 43:38
  • Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong with the Oscar Peterson Quartet "Don't Be That Way" from Ella and Louis (Verve) 47:46
  • Ella Fitzgerald Quartet "Air Mail Special" from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport (Verve) 52:44
  • Host Outro 56:58

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