August 12, 2017

Norman Granz ~ Jazz at the Philharmonic series


The historic Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) concert series started by Verve impresario Norman Granz debuted at the Philharmonic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California on July 2, 1944. It was a star-studded affair, featuring legends such as Buddy Rich, Lester Young, Nat 'King' Cole, Illinois Jacquet, Les Paul, J.J. Johnson, and others. The fascinating thing about the recordings from this show is they serve as an excellent document of the bridge period between the late Swing era and the dawn of Bebop.    
Norman Granz - July 2, 1944   
holding 'Jazz at the Philharmonic Volume 1' record        
photo by Gjon Mili  

Granz organised desegregated jam sessions at the Trouville Club in Los Angeles, which he later expanded when he staged a memorable concert at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 2, 1944, under the heading of "Jazz at the Philharmonic".    

The title of the concert, "A Jazz Concert at the Philharmonic Auditorium", had been shortened by the printer of the advertising supplements to "Jazz at the Philharmonic". Only one copy of the very first concert program is known to exist. Granz had organised the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert with about $300 of borrowed money.          

Later known as JATP, the ever-changing group recorded and toured extensively, with Granz producing some of the first live jam session recordings to be distributed to a wide market.        

After several JATP concerts in Los Angeles in 1944 and 1945, Granz began producing JATP concert tours, from late fall of 1945 to 1957 in USA and Canada, and from 1952 in Europe. They featured swing and bop musicians and were among the first high-profile performances to feature racially integrated bands. Granz actually cancelled some bookings rather than have the musicians perform for segregated audiences. He recorded many of the JATP concerts, and from 1945 to 1947 sold/leased the recordings to Asch/Disc/Stinson Records (the labels of record producer, Moses Asch).      

in 1948 Granz signed an agreement with Mercury Records for the promotion and the distribution of the JATP recordings and other recordings. After the agreement expired in 1953 he issued the JATP recordings and other recordings on Clef Records (founded 1946) and Norgran Records (founded 1953). Down Home Records was intended for traditional jazz works. Jazz at the Philharmonic ceased touring the United States and Canada, after the JATP concerts in the fall of 1957, apart from a North American Tour in 1967.   
Viewfinder link:              
Norman Granz articles/mentions         
Net links:              
NPR ~ Jazz Genius Behind The Scenes      
            The Man Who Used Jazz For Justice      
Jazz Times ~ Ella Fitzgerald: She Was His Star  
New York Times obit        
The Guardian obit          
YouTube links:              
Norman Granz ~ jazz at the Philharmonic series          
Styrous® ~ Saturday, August 12, 2017            


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