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Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice Hardcover – October 17, 2011
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"This book is a valuable addition to the jazz literature."--Norman Vickers"The Jazz Society Of Pensacola" (11/17/2011)
"[A] diligently researched biography. . . . [Hershorn] meticulously documents the personnel and songs played at many concerts and recording dates."--David Lander"Stereophile" (04/01/2012)
This book is a valuable addition to the jazz literature. --Norman Vickers"The Jazz Society Of Pensacola" (11/17/2011)"
[A] diligently researched biography. . . . [Hershorn] meticulously documents the personnel and songs played at many concerts and recording dates. --David Lander"Stereophile" (04/01/2012)"
From the Inside Flap
Norman Granz was one of the most important people in the world of jazz. He did more to escalate respect for jazz and raise our salaries than anybody else. He absolutely loved jazz and jazz musicians. I’m honored to have shared a beautiful friendship with Norman for many, many years. Hopefully, with this incredible book by Tad Hershorn, the world will have a chance to learn about Norman, and his phenomenal contribution to our beloved musicjazz.”Clark Terry, author of Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry
Tad Hershorn’s Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice is a relentlessly readable, rigorously researched, deeply empathic portrait of the complex and heroic man who was arguably the greatest champion of this great American art formand its great artists. Essential reading for anyone who loves jazz.” James Kaplan, author of Frank: The Voice
Norman Granz was renowned as a vivid force in jazz history, both as a producer of invaluable classic recordings by many of the music’s most original performers and also for his world-wide, all-star Jazz at the Philharmonic tours. Moreover, he broke the color line dividing jazz audiences by mandating the end of segregated seating his continually popular concerts. Yet until this magisterial, deeply researched biography of Granz by Tad Hershorn, there has been no full-scale inside account of the achievement and combats of this often larger-than-life personality who, without playing an instrument, was so swingingly instrumental in making jazz an international language.” Nat Hentoff, author of At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene
Norman Granz, one of the most significant non-musicians in jazz history, took gutsy public stands but remained a private person. Tad Hershorn's years of dedicated research reveal the man behind the lasting legacy, on which he sheds new light as well.. This great American story is a must readand not just for jazz fans!” Dan Morgenstern, author of Living with Jazz
Norman Granz was an institution in jazz. He was loved by some, hated by others, often controversial, and always fearless. But Granz was also elusive and, until now, sometimes came across as more symbol than man. Tad Hershorn has changed all that in this stunning, beautiful biography of the music's most relentless advocate of social justice.” Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
Norman Granz was an important man, and Tad Hershorn tells his story with a fearless compassion grounded in yeoman research. Imperious, vain, and rude, Granz was also generous, inventive, and brave. He fought valiantly for jazz and civil rights, made pots of money, and never failed to bet it on his passions and beliefs. If you do not know him, you couldn't ask for a better introduction than Hershorn's judicious portrait; if you think you do know him, you are in for more than a few surprises.” Gary Giddins, author of Visions of Jazz
"You're probably smarter than you present yourself." Norman Granz to author, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
"Even half asleep, I love and appreciate you. Thanks very much. Ella." Ella Fitzgerald's telegram to Norman Granz in Paris.
Norman Granz is perhaps best known as the creator of the legendary Jazz At The Philharmonic series of concerts, and as the founder of the Verve records label. Anyone who listens to jazz to any extent will be familiar with his name. Granz produced and/or recorded many of the jazz stars whose music is still revered today.
But what most people don't know is that, along with presenting the very best in jazz, Granz also fought stubbornly for racial equality wherever he was in the world. He presented nothing but the best jazz artists, and felt they should be treated as the stars they were. And in the time period covered in this book, that was a difficult thing to do-both here in the U.S., and in Europe. Granz once commented (while on tour in Germany) on the fact that the Nazis had lost the war, yet they wouldn't treat Black musicians on an equal basis with Whites. And that's just one instance in this fine book on Granz' stance for equality. He never waivered when it came to the music he loved-he sought out only the best musicians he could find. And his commitment to racial equality was just as intractable.Read more ›
Regardless of likeability, readers will certainly find Granz respectable. He was true to his convictions, especially racial equality, even when his moral commitment resulted in financial loss. Starting in the 1940s, he broke new ground in the integration of jazz performances and equal pay and accommodations for the performers. In the process, he was one of the driving forces in expanding jazz from small nightclubs to major concert halls.
The cast of characters is a who's who of jazz from the 1940s-80s, which is a delight for longtime jazz fans but may be a bit daunting for newcomers who will struggle to keep up with the namedropping. Fortunately, many great artists play big roles in the story, and we gain significant insights on their lives and careers. Among them are Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, Nat Cole, Lester Young, and Coleman Hawkins.
Granz was also an art collector, and had a friendship with Pablo Picasso during the last few years of the artist's life. One chapter is devoted to this facet of Granz's character.
There's plenty to be learned here about jazz history, the civil rights struggle in America (and to a lesser extent, Europe), and the devotion of one man to a musical art form for which he perhaps did more than any other non-musician.
The author has had access to considerable information about Granz and his relationships with the musicians whose careers he supported. Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum are the ones with whom he interacted most closely, but many others are included.
The author explains Granz's views on social issues, notably integration, and what Granz did to put his views into practice.
Almost every page of the biography is illuminating.
It's Civil Rights history.
It's music history.
It's jazz history.
Beautifully researched - and true in-depth look at Norman
Granz (the Jazz Impressario and manager of Ella Fitzgerald)
and his impact on the world.
A MUST READ for music fans, jazz fans and history fans.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read. I learned some much about Granz. Give this one a try. It also offers a great overview of jazz and the musicians that played it. Pick it up quick.Published on November 20, 2013 by Michael Palermo
Well written bio of a jazz legend. As an avowed jazz junkie I already knew about Granz but this bio certainly filled me in with a lot of additional details. Read morePublished on January 1, 2013 by Ron
More than twenty years of careful research went into this remarkable exploration of a fascinating figure in music history. Read morePublished on November 28, 2012 by Gary D. Saretzky
One can fully appreciate the depth and beauty of "America's classical music" only with some knowledge of American history, especially American race relations in the 20th century. Read morePublished on July 15, 2012 by Charltonr