Register for updates!
Back to Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic First British Tour 1958

Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic First British Tour 1958 002

Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic First British Tour 1958 002

Inside front cover and page 1 of the programme to Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic tour of Great Britain. The inside front cover features a photo and profile of Norman Granz, with an introduction to the history of the tour and artists performing on page 1.

Image Details

Catalogue Reference Number NJA/PRO/3
Creator Jack Higgins, Mike Nevard
Date Made 1958
Item Format Programme
Title or Caption
Geographic Location

This text has been generated by computer from the image and may contain typographical and/or grammatical errors.

THE most craggy, dynamic personality on stage tonight is going to be the man who doesn’t play a note: Norman Granz.
He may look tame enough in his striped, English-cut suit. But just try to needle him and you’ll find him storming off stage—and taking his giants with him.
Granz is the Keeper of the Giants. The man who built them into Jazz At The Philharmonic; the man who nursemaids them.
He’ll fight for these temperamental geniuses with the ferocity of a lioness defending her cubs.
“ I have a fierce pride in them," he says. “ Sure, I make money. I’m supposed to. 1 have a payroll of twenty thousand dollars a week.”
Granz has done more for jazz than any other nonplaying participant. He's fought the colour-bar and the bureaucrats. But he’s made a lot of enemies in the process.
This ex-G.I. was a prickly fighter from the start. He came out of the U.S. Army restless, discontented. The jazz scene was in a shambles.
The boppers were leapfrogging tradition in their attempts to draw attention to themselves. The figs were raking over the ashes of the past and trying to resurrect the dead wood of New Orleans.
Granz's idols were buried in the debris. The great Coleman Hawkins . . . Eldridge . . . Tatum . . . condemned to obscurity at the bottom of the polls.
Creation of Jazz At The Philharmonic was Granz’s way of digging them out. His high-paid unit became a fighting force for jazz without inhibitions.
Fever-pitch finales turned the stages of America and Europe into musical battlegrounds.
Said Granz, in justification: “ Even if it’s honking, it’s the best honking. And there’s no baloney.
“ A concert should be a happy thing, with people dancing while they're sitting. That’s my gig, to run the show my way.
“ That’s why I’m salty backstage. 1 yell and scream, but 1 put on a hell of a show.”
That “ hell of a show ” made J.A.P.T. an institution and became the basis of an expanding record catalogue. And all the time Granz was indulging his personal whims like a schoolboy let loose in a chemistry lab . . . doing things that musicians would reject as “ impossible.”
He added jazz horns to Machito's Cubans, let Bird fly solo with strings. He gave new life to Gillespie and Getz, thrusting them into steamy jam sessions.
He discovered Oscar Peterson and stuck with him until the world acknowledged that he was the beatiest pianist around.
He fought to buy-out Ella Fitzgerald’s contract with a record company because he thought he could do more with her than anyone else.
And he did.
It is this tenacity, this confidence in himself and his musicians that have bulldozed them all to the top.
He can’t play his music. But he knows what it should sound like.
Daily Herald.
If, as they say, an institution is the shadow of one man, then JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC represents, above all, Norman Granz. More specifically, JATP represents Norman Granz’ deep interest in jazz, in presenting jazz under the best possible conditions and — no less important — in fighting the virulence of racial prejudice.
JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC started, logically enough, at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles. It was a pioneering venture with Granz gathering some of the best jazzmen available — Illinois Jacquet, Nat Cole, Joe Sullivan, Barney Bigard, Meade Lux Lewis, Les Paul, J. J. Johnson, Joe Thomas and others. The date was July 2, 1944. On this date, JATP as a money-making institution was bom. (“I wanted to prove that there was money to be made in good jazz”, Granz said once. “Not only for me, but for the musicians who play it.”) Previous to that Granz had begun giving All Star Jam Sessions in Los Angeles in 1940, most of them featuring King Cole, Oscar Moore, Lester and Lee Young, Willie Smith and Don By as.
Since then, Granz has earned a reputation as the “Sol Hurok of Jazz”, a fitting and yet not altogether accurate description. For all his brilliance as a promoter of ballet and classical music, Hurok was not concerned in his concerts with fighting racial discrimination. Granz most definitely has been. In a number of cities, Granz has refused to present a JATP concert before a segregated audience. As a result of Granz’ constant pressure, these cities have reversed their own policies. It was either that or no JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC.
From the beginning, JATP has been an inter-racial organization with each man being chosen solely on the basis of ability, Granz’ theory is simply that a man’s music speaks for itself and he should be judged for himself alone, and not on what church he attends or what he looks like. There are no color or racial lines in this group and there never have been. In 1949, as a result of these JATP rules, Granz received the Russwurm Award for his contribution to race relations. The award was presented by the National Negro Publishers Association.
It is interesting to consider the calibre of jazz artists that comprise JATP. They are not necessarily the big names of the moment, those whose fame may be only temporary or whose standing has not been fully substantiated by time. First the musician makes his contribution — a solid one — to jazz and then he is considered for JATP.
Writing in Down Beat for December 15, 1954, Nat Hentoff observed: “Granz, more than any other single force in jazz . . . has consistently supported those artists that form the mainstream of the jazz tradition, those artists whose roots are life-deep in jazz and without whom there could have been no modem jazz, cool or turbulent....”