Norman Granz, the founder of Verve Records, died at age 83 on Thursday, November 22nd, 2001 at his home in Geneva, Switzerland.
Granz was one of the most influential executives in the jazz world. He is known especially for founding Verve Records and the Jazz At The Philharmonic concert series. He is also respected for his fight against segregation in the 1940s and 1950s, as he paid performers equal wages and held his concerts only in non-segregated clubs.
Ron Goldstein, President of The Verve Music Group, commented: "Norman Granz was one of the true legends in our business. He developed jazz artists into pop stars and created music that will last forever." He continued, "He was also a man of great principle and a man with the passion and determination to bring his dreams to fruition."
Norman Granz was born on Aug. 6, 1918 in Los Angeles, CA. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps and in a special branch assigned to entertain the troops. He also attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he majored in philosophy.
Granz began Jazz at the Philharmonic in 1944 with artists such as Benny Carter, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Buddy Rich, and Stan Getz.
Granz founded Verve Records in 1955. He sold Verve to MGM in 1960, and the label was later taken over by Polygram, and is now part of The Verve Music Group, the world's largest jazz and adult music record company. The Verve Music Group is division of the Universal Music Group.
During his career, Granz worked with an incredible list of the legends of jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Oscar Peterson. He managed Ella Fitzgerald's career for many years, and is credited for turning her into an international star.
Granz is survived by his wife, Greta.
For more information, contact:
Chris Wheat (212) 331-2053 [