Verve Records, founded in 1956 by Norman Granz, is home to the
world’s largest jazz catalogue and includes recordings by artists
such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone,
Stan Getz and Billie Holiday,
among others. It absorbed the catalogues of Granz's earlier labels,
Clef Records, founded in 1946, Norgran Records, founded in 1953, and
material previously licensed to Mercury Records. Verve also served
as the original home of acts such as
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground and Frank
Zappa. The restructured
Verve Records is now part of the Verve Label
Group, which is owned by Universal Music Group. This company is also
home to historic imprints including Verve Forecast Records, Impulse!
Records and Decca Records.
4 External links
Norman Granz created Verve to produce new recordings by Ella
Fitzgerald, whom he managed; the first album the label released was
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book.  The catalog grew
throughout the 1950s and 1960s to include Charlie Parker, Bill Evans,
Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson, Ben Webster, and Lester
By 1960, Granz neared retirement. Milton Rudin, his attorney,
Frank Sinatra and knew that Sinatra wanted his own label.
Sinatra and Granz made a handshake deal, but negotiations broke down
over price and Sinatra's desire that Granz remain head of the label.
Granz sold Verve to
MGM in 1961. Sinatra established Reprise Records
and hired Mo Ostin, an executive at Verve, to run it. At Verve, Creed
Taylor was made head producer. Taylor adopted a more commercial
approach, canceling several contracts. He brought bossa nova to
America with the release of
Jazz Samba by
Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd,
Getz/Gilberto, and Rain Forest by Walter Wanderley. Verve's notable
Claus Ogerman and Oliver Nelson. According to
Ogerman in Jazzletter, he arranged 60–70 albums for Verve from
In 1964, Taylor supervised the creation of a folk music subsidiary
named Verve Folkways, later renamed Verve Forecast. Taylor left Verve
in 1967 to form CTI Records. Aside from jazz, Verve's catalogue
included the Righteous Brothers, the Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa
& the Mothers of Invention, and the Blues Project, as well as a
series of "Sound Impressions of an American on Tour" records, produced
in cooperation with Esquire Magazine.
In the 1970s, Verve became part of PolyGram, incorporating the
Mercury/EmArcy jazz catalog, which Philips, part owners of PolyGram,
had earlier acquired.
Verve Records became the Verve Music Group after
PolyGram was merged with Seagram's
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group in 1998. The
jazz holdings from the merged companies were folded into this
In the 1990s, as part of
PolyGram Classics and Jazz, Verve signed
Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Roy Hargrove, John
Scofield, Shirley Horn, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Chris Botti, Jeff
Lorber, Gino Vannelli, Art Porter, Will Downing, Incognito.
When Universal and Polygram merged in 1998, Verve's holdings were
merged with Universal's GRP Recording Company to become Verve Music
Group. After forays into Americana and adult contemporary music, Verve
was corporately aligned with
Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), and
was no longer a stand-alone label within UMG.
The Verve imprint itself manages much of the jazz catalog that once
PolyGram (not including recordings by
Herb Alpert for his
A&M Records label which Alpert acquired in a legal settlement with
Universal Music and are licensed to Shout! Factory), while the
Impulse! Records imprint manages the portion of Universal's catalog
that was acquired from ABC Records, which itself includes the jazz
catalog of the
Famous Music Group, which was once owned by Paramount
Pictures/Gulf+Western, but which was sold to ABC in 1974. Meanwhile,
GRP manages the rest of MCA/Universal's jazz catalog, including
releases once issued on the Decca and Chess labels.
The Verve Label Group has expanded its output beyond jazz to include
crossover classical music, progressive pop and show tunes (by
absorbing Decca Records' Broadway label and thus taking over ownership
of the label's library, including EMI's,
MGM Records' and MCA Records'
musical theater catalogs).
In 2016, the newly-formed Verve Label Group appointed industry veteran
Danny Bennett as its president and CEO.
Verve Records discography
^ Havers, Richard (24 February 2016). "
Verve Records is 60!".
uDiscoverMusic. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
^ "Verve / Clef/ Norgran". LondonJazzCollector. 26 December 2011.
Retrieved 10 January 2018.
^ "Verve Label Group - UMG". UMG. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
^ Maxwell, Tom (November 2016). "The Story of 'Ella and Louis,' 60
Years Later". Longreads. Longreads.com. Retrieved 21 November
^ "The Work of Claus Ogerman". Bjbear71.com. Retrieved
^ Borgerson, Janet (2017). Designed for hi-fi living : the vinyl
LP in midcentury America. Schroeder, Jonathan E., 1962-. Cambridge,
Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. 269–284. ISBN 9780262036238.
^  Archived May 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved
^ Duquette, Mike (2013-10-31). "Happy Halloween! "Wicked" Turns 10,
Celebrates With Deluxe Reissue". Theseconddisc.com. Retrieved
^ "Our Labels & Brands - UMG". Universalmusic.com. Retrieved
^ Schneider, Marc. "Verve Label Group's First Year Under Danny Bennett
Marked By Flurry of Executive Moves". Billboard. Retrieved 10 January
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