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Various Artists: Norman Granz: The Founder (Verve)

A review of the four-disc set honoring the legendary jazz figure

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Norman Granz: The Founder
The cover of Norman Granz: The Founder

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.

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