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4.8 out of 5 stars19
4.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 16 November 2013
A wonderful visual cornucopia for jazz fans of a certain age. I'm surprised that a book like this hasn't been published before considering the importance of Norman Granz to the politics of jazz let alone the stunning amount of the music he recorded. There was slightly similar book included with the ten CD PolyGram box set: 'The complete Jazz at the Philharmonic', released in 1998. That book was CD size with 224 pages with about seventy-eight devoted to Granz and JATP (the rest of the book was about the tracks and musicians).

This latest title, with four hundred pages, is a much more ambitious look at the man and his music. The first few pages have a quick overview about the origins of jazz then the pages come alive with a detailed description about the start of JATP and the various tours in the US and overseas during the forties and fifties. These are all annotated with dates, locations and musicians. The rest of the pages look at the various labels Granz ran. Two things break up the book's basic text: spreads with biographies with a page size photo of several dozen musicians; dozens of LP covers. I think it's safe to use the term 'jazz greats' for all those who have biographies here. For me the covers are one of the strengths of the book because they show the talent of David Stone Martin who probably did a few hundred covers for Clef, Norgran and Verve. He did the trumpet player illustration which is sort of a JATP logo. As well as the personality photos and LP covers there are plenty of other pictures and ephemera.

The book runs up to the late nineties (the last biography is for Diana Krall) and page 371 mentions Granz's ability to repackage the music via his Pablo label though he sold it to Fantasy in 1987. The Verve sound lives on through releases organized by Richard Seidel, especially the 'Ultimate' series. With about 1200 images throughout these pages book designer Steve Russell had quite a challenge but it all pulls together beautifully though there is one annoyance, many of the pages have no numbers and it can vary between blocks of six to nines pages which makes using the index useless sometimes.

This is a thick, chunky look at jazz history revolving round one man and author Richard Havers has done a wonderful job making Granz's life (1918--2001) come alive. Anyone who lived with JATP and Verve over the decades will love this book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 December 2013
In the words of author Richard Havers "This is the story of Verve and the man with the vision to take jazz out of the clubs and into the concert halls of the world". That man was Norman Granz, and this hefty tome, which weighs over five pounds, sets out in chronological order the tours he organised, the musicians and singers involved, and the many problems which he had to overcome. Granz insisted that his audiences should not be segregated, and he's quoted as saying "You sit where I sit you. You don't want to sit next to a black? Here's your money back". That's interspersed with the development of the label, beginning with Clef in 1947 and progressing via Norgran in 1954 to Verve the following year. The book is also a treasury of visual delights, packed with 1,200 illustrations, often accompanying profiles of key artists, and including hundreds of reproductions of album covers. It should be an essential purchase for any jazz devotee, whom it will keep engrossed for hours!
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on 1 December 2013
I was recntly given this book for my birthday and I am 'gobsmacked'.
Page after page of gorgeous inventive artwork coupled with all the informnation about Verve and the many people involved in creating and buliding it.
I've learnt so much from just browsing through it.
At at 400 pages, it's deliciously made and is a snip.
Nev Dunn
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on 8 March 2014
I found the Sound Of America a very good book and excellent value for money an essential buy for any Jazz Fan and for those who
are just getting into the Jazz genre. Re asking for a review of My Funny Valentine The Story Of Chet Baker I ordered this book in November and I still haven't yet got my copy, and that is now making me a bit wary of ordering more goods
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on 9 January 2014
I found this a very interesting book, reminding me of the artists names of well remembered music. Very good book.
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on 9 January 2014
An absolute treat of a book, great companion to the 5 disc Verve set. Bought as a well received gift.
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on 9 February 2014
This is an excellent addition to my library of music books. Much of the history of the Verve label and Norman Grantz life can be found in Tad Hershorn's biography of Norman Granz, however not too much is duplication. The book is worth the price for the PL cover reproductions and photographs. It is an ideal "dip in" book which I enjoy very much.
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on 10 March 2014
I bought this collection for my dear brother's 88th birthday. For him it sums up a life-time's listening to great jazz and swing, which he knows like the back of his hand. This will give endless pleasure, although he might need a support for it when he reads it in bed.
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on 5 November 2015
GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!
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on 28 February 2016
Excellent
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