Had he accomplished just one of the following—creating and promoting the game-changing Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series; launching the Clef, Norgran and Verve labels; managing and helping to popularize Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson; producing hundreds of landmark recordings; championing African-American equality and fighting racism and segregation within the music industry—Norman Granz would have been a singular figure in jazz history. That Granz (1918-2001) did all of that is nothing short of remarkable.
Simply put, jazz would not have followed the same trajectory without Norman Granz. This new four-disc compilation chiefly celebrates the music released by the three labels that he put on the map, with one all-star selection after another, 44 in all. But it’s also a fitting tribute to the man himself.