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Jazz It Up with New Verve Records Box Set

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Verve The Sound of America Box SetMore than half a century after visionary music impresario Norman Granz founded his third and arguably most successful label, Verve Records, the label will be celebrated in style next month with a new book and a five-disc box set, The Sound of America: The Singles Collection.

Granz had previously come to prominence in the jazz world a decade before, when he organized a diverse jam session of a concert at Los Angeles’ Philharmonic Auditorium in 1944. This regular session turned into a full-fledged concert tour, and “Jazz At The Philharmonic” became one of the biggest national platforms for jazz musicians (both black and white) in North America. Recordings of the shows were licensed to Mercury Records, then in turn to two of Granz’s own labels, Clef and Norgran.

But it was Verve, founded in 1956, that enjoyed the greatest success, largely thanks to two factors: the rise of the 12″ long-playing record album, and Granz signing his biggest client as a manager to the label. Ella Fitzgerald, who’d been wooed to Verve from Decca, made some of the greatest recordings in jazz history during her years there, starting with her legendary Songbook series, which found her interpreting the catalogues of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, George & Ira Gershwin and many more.

From there, Verve was, at one time or another, home to a who’s who of jazz luminaries, including pianist Oscar Peterson, trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, organist Jimmy Smith, saxophonist Stan Getz, guitarist Wes Montgomery and even vocalists like Bing Crosby and Mel Tormé. Today, the Verve label still exists as a home for new and catalogue jazz; current acts include operatic tenor Andrea Bocelli and jazz vocalist Diana Krall.

The Sound of America: The Singles Collection features 100 tracks – not only sides from the Verve years, but a handful of pre-Verve jazz singles on Clef and Norgran – over five discs, “over 20 of which have been out of print for years.” All the discs are contained in their own individual slipcases, packaged in a box with a lift-off lid alongside a 48-page book of liner notes. The box hits stores December 10, just over a month after the publication of Verve Records: The Sound of America, an exhaustive written history of the label from producer/researcher Richard Havers.

The full track list and order links for the box set are after the jump.

The Sound of America: The Singles Collection (Verve/UMe, 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1

  1. Perdido, Pt. 1 & 2 – Jazz At The Philharmonic
  2. No Noise, Pt. 1 & 2 – Charlie Parker/Flip Phillips/Machito
  3. Opera in Vout, Pt. 1 & 2 – Slim Gaillard
  4. Just Friends – Charlie Parker
  5. I Cover the Waterfront – Lester Young
  6. Bloomdido – Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie with Thelonious Monk
  7. There’s a Small Hotel – Coleman Hawkins
  8. Debut – Oscar Peterson
  9. Castle Rock – Johnny Hodges
  10. Port of Rico – Illinois Jacquet
  11. You Go to My Head – Billie Holiday
  12. Dale’s Wall – Roy Eldridge
  13. Tenderly – Billie Holiday
  14. Tenderly – Ben Webster
  15. Alright, Okay, You Win – Count Basie & Joe Williams
  16. April in Paris – Count Basie
  17. I Can’t Get Started – Dizzy Gillespie
  18. The Rock and Roll Waltz – Anita O’Day
  19. Too Young for the Blues – Ella Fitzgerald
  20. Boogie Blues – Gene Krupa

Disc 2

  1. Hello Baby – Fred Astaire
  2. (The End of) A Beautiful Friendship – Ella Fitzgerald
  3. Stay There – Ella Fitzgerald
  4. Stars Fell on Alabama – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
  5. Mountain Greenery – Bing Crosby
  6. Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald
  7. I Wonder – Woody Herman
  8. I’ve Never Left Your Arms – Oscar Peterson
  9. It’s All Right with Me – Ella Fitzgerald
  10. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter – Johnny Hodges
  11. Derek’s Blues – Buddy Bregman
  12. Sayonara – Teddy Wilson
  13. The Golden Striker – Oscar Peterson
  14. Sing, Sing, Sing, Pt. 1 & 2 – Gene Krupa
  15. Stairway to the Stars – Ella Fitzgerald
  16. Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac, Pt. 1 & 2 – Dizzy Gillespie
  17. Frenesi – Mel Tormé
  18. Lulu’s Back in Town – Louis Bellson
  19. Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday
  20. Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen – Louis Armstrong

Disc 3

  1. On the Street Where You Live – Oscar Peterson
  2. Mack the Knife – Ella Fitzgerald
  3. Let’s Do It – Terry Gibbs
  4. I’m Gonna Go Fishin’, Pt. 1 & 2 – Gerry Mulligan
  5. How High the Moon, Pt. 1 & 2 – Ella Fitzgerald
  6. Bossa Nova – Roy Eldridge
  7. Mr. Paganini – Ella Fitzgerald
  8. Cry Me a River – Ella Fitzgerald
  9. Walk on the Wild Side, Pt. 1 & 2 – Jimmy Smith
  10. Desafinado – Stan Getz
  11. Ol’ Man River – Jimmy Smith
  12. Teach Me Tonight – Blossom Dearie
  13. The Hippie Twist – Terry Gibbs
  14. Desafinado – Ella Fitzgerald
  15. Manha de Carnival (Morning of the Carnival) – Stan Getz
  16. Hobo Flats, Pt. 1 & 2 – Stan Getz
  17. Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home – Ella Fitzgerald
  18. Sambalero – Stan Getz & Luis Bonfa
  19. On Broadway – Bill Evans
  20. More – Kai Winding

Disc 4

  1. Theme from The VIPs – Bill Evans
  2. What’d I Say? – Kenny Burrell & Jimmy Smith
  3. Theme from Any Number Can Win – Jimmy Smith
  4. Hymn to Freedom – Oscar Peterson
  5. Corcovado – Antonio Carlos Jobim
  6. Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall – Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie
  7. If That’s the Way You Want It – Wynton Kelly
  8. Mondo Cane #2 – Kai Winding
  9. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Pt. 1 & 2 – Jimmy Smith
  10. Blowin’ in the Wind – Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto
  11. The Girl from Ipanema – Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto
  12. Hello, Dolly! – Ella Fitzgerald
  13. Makin’ Whoopee – Louis Armstrong
  14. The Cat – Jimmy Smith
  15. Bachianas Brasileras No. 5 – Lalo Schifrin
  16. Ringo Beat – Ella Fitzgerald
  17. You’ve Been Talkin’ About My Baby – Donald Byrd
  18. Soul Sauce – Carl Tjader
  19. Goldfinger, Pt. 1 & 2 – Jimmy Smith
  20. Agua de Beber – Astrud Gilberto

Disc 5

  1. Organ Grinder Song – Jimmy Smith
  2. Loie – Kenny Burrell
  3. Imagine My Frustration, Pt. 1 & 2 – Ella Fitzgerald & Duke Ellington
  4. Spanish Grease – Willie Bobo
  5. Goin’ Out of My Head – Wes Montgomery
  6. Got My Mojo Workin’, Pt. 1 & 2 – Jimmy Smith
  7. Pavanne – Bill Evans
  8. Hoochie Coochie Man, Pt. 1 & 2 – Jimmy Smith
  9. Bumpin’ on Sunset – Wes Montgomery
  10. Sunshine Superman – Willie Bobo
  11. California Dreaming – Wes Montgomery
  12. Dindi – Astrud Gilberto
  13. Evil Ways – Willie Bobo
  14. Manteca – Chico O’Farrill
  15. Chain of Fools, Pt. 1 & 2 – Jimmy Smith
  16. The Word – Don Sebesky
  17. The Preacher – Kenny Burrell
  18. Agnus Dei – Lalo Schifrin
  19. Communication ’72 – Stan Getz
  20. The Look of Love – Diana Krall

2 Responses

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  1. Verve issued “Ella Fitzgerald – The Complete Verve Singles Volume 1” years ago, but never issued Volume 2. It amazes me that Volume 2 was never issued, particularly given Ella’s importance to Verve


    November 21, 2013 at 15:02

  2. It is an odd selection, and misleadingly named. “The Singles Collection” sounds like it should include every single the label released, but of course it is just a random selection of songs. It should be sub-titled “Some Singles Collection” instead. But even with that said, it is a collection of great songs and it is nice to have the single edits. At $41 on it is a good deal. Hopefully my wife will get it for me this Christmas. As she started playing our copy of the Verve Story box earlier this week, she should be amenable to that!

    Jason Michael

    November 21, 2013 at 23:22

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