APTLY- TITLED ALL-STAR FOUR- DISC BOX SET THE FOUNDER OUT ON DECEMBER 7TH VIA VERVE/UME
BY HARVEY KUBERNIK c 2018
In jazz circles, few names command more respect than Norman Granz. Although he wasn’t a musician, Granz (1918-2001) was as
responsible as any individual for popularizing jazz and promoting the careers of many of the genre’s greatest artists.
Granz’s incredible half-century career first took off with his creation of the groundbreaking Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series. But Granz was equally influential for the series of record labels that he launched in the 1940s and 1950s: Clef, Norgran and Verve.
Those companies became home to many of jazz’s most important and influential artists. And, unlike many of his contemporaries, Granz combined his love for the music with a passion for social justice, championing African-American musicians at a time when those musicians were often exploited and disrespected.
Now, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of Norman Granz’s birth, Verve/UMe has assembled The Founder, a four-CD/digital box set celebrating his remarkable life and career. The historic package features a massive chronological assortment of music spanning Granz’s remarkable career and featuring music by most of the great musicians he recorded. Continue reading
Oscar Peterson Plays and Talks in ’06
Oscar Peterson, the great Legend of Jazz Piano, played a rare concert live, in September 2006.
This had special importance for me as my father, Guitar Jazz Great, Barney Kessel, played with the Oscar Peterson Trio in the 50’s. Oscar and Barney also toured as band mates with the Jazz at the Philharmonic series, led by Norman Granz. Barney promised Norman that he would tour with Oscar, along with Ray Brown, for 1 year. After that Barney became head of A&R for Norman’s jazz record label, Verve Records.
When my brother Dan and I were kids in the 50’s, it was a typical occurrence for us to come home from school to find Oscar, Barney and Ray jamming in the living room.
When Oscar greeted me at the gig, he embraced me and said, “Barney’s my man, Barney’s my man!”
We were lucky enough to have a camera along to capture some of these magical moments with Oscar. It turned out that this would be one of his last public performances.