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Verve Records

Verve Records

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Verve Records is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 record label
Record label
In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion,...

 now owned by Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

. It was founded by Norman Granz
Norman Granz
Norman Granz was an American jazz music impresario and producer.Granz was a fundamental figure in American jazz, especially from about 1947 to 1960...

 in 1956, absorbing the catalogues of his earlier labels, Clef Records
Clef Records
Clef Records was an American Jazz record label founded by Norman Granz in 1946. It was later absorbed into Verve Records....

 (founded in 1946) and Norgran Records (founded in 1953), and material which had been licensed to Mercury
Mercury Records
Mercury Records is a record label operating as a standalone company in the UK and as part of the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group in the US; both are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group. There is also a Mercury Records in Australia, which is a local artist and repertoire division of Universal...

 previously.

Jazz and folk origins


The Verve catalog grew throughout the 1950s and 1960s to include most of the major figures in jazz. It also recognized the potential of comedy
Comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

 albums, producing Spike Jones'
Spike Jones
Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and other Warner Brothers cartoon characters, performed a drunken, hiccuping verse for 1942's "Clink! Clink! Another Drink"...

 first LP, Dinner Music For People Who Aren't Very Hungry
Dinner Music for People Who Aren't Very Hungry
Dinner Music For People Who Aren't Very Hungry - Spike Jones Demonstrates Your Hi-Fi was the first long-playing release by comedic bandleader Spike Jones....

, in 1956 and several best-selling albums featuring live performances by Shelley Berman
Shelley Berman
Sheldon "Shelley" Berman is an American comedian, actor, writer, teacher, lecturer, and poet.- Early life :Berman was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Irene and Nathan Berman.- Career :...

 beginning in 1960.

Granz sold Verve to MGM in 1961 for $3 million. Creed Taylor
Creed Taylor
Creed Taylor is an American record producer, best known for his work with CTI Records, which he founded in 1968. Taylor’s career also included work at Bethlehem Records, ABC-Paramount, Verve, and A&M Records...

 was appointed as producer, and adopted a more commercial approach, cancelling several contracts. Taylor brought the bossa nova
Bossa nova
Bossa nova is a style of Brazilian music. Bossa nova acquired a large following in the 1960s, initially consisting of young musicians and college students...

 to America with the Stan Getz
Stan Getz
Stanley Getz was an American jazz saxophone player. Getz was known as "The Sound" because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow timbre of his idol, Lester Young. Coming to prominence in the late 1940s with Woody Herman's big band, Getz is described by critic Scott...

/Charlie Byrd
Charlie Byrd
Charlie Lee Byrd was a famous and versatile American guitarist born in Suffolk, Virginia. His earliest and strongest musical influence was Django Reinhardt, the famous gypsy guitarist. Byrd became the American guitarist who best understood and played Brazilian music, especially the Bossa Nova genre...

 LP Jazz Samba
Jazz Samba
Jazz Samba is a bossa nova LP by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, released on the Verve label on April 20, 1962.Jazz Samba was the first major bossa-nova album on the American jazz scene. It was the real start of the bossa-nova excitement in America, which peaked in the mid-1960s...

as well as Getz/Gilberto
Getz/Gilberto
Getz/Gilberto is a jazz bossa nova album released in 1964 by the American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto, and featuring composer and pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim. Its release created a bossa nova craze in the United States and internationally...

. Several arrangers of note worked for the Verve label too in the 1960s, including Claus Ogerman
Claus Ogerman
Claus Ogerman is a German musical arranger/ orchestrator, conductor, and composer, best known for his works with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Frank Sinatra and Diana Krall.-Life and work:...

 and Oliver Nelson
Oliver Nelson
Oliver Edward Nelson was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger and composer.-Early life and career:...

. Claus Ogerman, by his own admission in Gene Lees' Jazzletter publication, arranged some 60-70 albums for Verve under Creed Taylor's direction from 1963-1967.http://bjbear71.com/Ogerman/Claus-news.html

In 1964, Taylor supervised the creation of a folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 subsidiary named Verve Folkways (later renamed Verve Forecast
Verve Forecast Records
Verve Forecast Records is a record label specializing in cutting-edge material which was founded in 1967 by Verve Records and since been revived twice....

) by Verve executive Jerry Schoenbaum. Taylor left Verve in 1967 to form his own CTI Records
CTI Records
CTI Records was a jazz record label founded in 1967 by producer/A&R manager Creed Taylor. Initially, CTI was a subsidiary of A&M Records, but the label went independent in 1970...

. But by now there were fewer new recordings and they would cease altogether in the early 1970s.

Besides its main focus on jazz, Verve did host a handful of rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 artists in the 1960s, including The Righteous Brothers
The Righteous Brothers
The Righteous Brothers were the musical duo of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. They recorded from 1963 through 1975, and continued to perform until Hatfield's death in 2003...

, Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
Frank Vincent Zappa was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed...

 and the The Mothers of Invention
The Mothers of Invention
The Mothers of Invention were an American band active from 1964 to 1969, and again from 1970 to 1975.They mainly performed works by, and were the original recording group of, US composer and guitarist Frank Zappa , although other members have had the occasional writing credit...

, The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited...

, and The Blues Project.

In the seventies, the label became part of the PolyGram
PolyGram
PolyGram was the name of the major label recording company started by Philips from as a holding company for its music interests in 1945. In 1999 it was sold to Seagram and merged into Universal Music Group.-Hollandsche Decca Distributie , 1929-1950:...

 label group, at this point incorporating the Mercury
Mercury Records
Mercury Records is a record label operating as a standalone company in the UK and as part of the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group in the US; both are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group. There is also a Mercury Records in Australia, which is a local artist and repertoire division of Universal...

/EmArcy
EmArcy Records
EmArcy Records is a jazz record label founded in 1954 by Mercury Records, and today a European jazz label owned by Universal Music Group. The name is a phonetic spelling of "MRC", the initials for Mercury Record Company....

 jazz catalog, which Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

, part owners of PolyGram, had earlier acquired. Verve Records became the Verve Music Group after PolyGram was merged with Seagram
Seagram
The Seagram Company Ltd. was a large corporation headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada that was the largest distiller of alcoholic beverages in the world. Toward the end of its independent existence it also controlled various entertainment and other business ventures...

's Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 in 1998. The jazz holdings from the merged companies were folded into this sub-group.

Revival


The label was revived in the mid-1980s for new releases. Yet a more important focus for the new Verve Records was the reissuing of its back catalogue, in ever more imaginative ways. The "Verve By Request" label began to reissue many original Verve bossa nova
Bossa nova
Bossa nova is a style of Brazilian music. Bossa nova acquired a large following in the 1960s, initially consisting of young musicians and college students...

 titles on CD in the late 1990s, and the Elite series revived many obscure albums which had languished for many years.

When Universal and Polygram merged in 1998, Verve's holdings were merged with Universal's GRP Recording Company
GRP Records
GRP Records is an American jazz record company, owned by Universal Music Group and operates through its Verve Music Group. The company's name has had different meanings. In its early days, it stood for "Grusin/Rosen Productions," after the founders...

 to become Verve Music Group. This was run by producer Tommy LiPuma
Tommy LiPuma
Tommy LiPuma is an American music producer. In his long career, he has worked with many musicians, including Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis, Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Natalie Cole, Claudine Longet, Dave Mason, the Yellowjackets, Michael Franks, Diana Krall, and The Story...

. Ron Goldstein was named President of the merged companies.

Since 2002, the label has released a series of Verve Remixed
Verve Remixed
Verve Remixed is a series of albums released by Verve Records centered on the concept of classic Verve tracks, remixed by contemporary electronic music producers and DJs...

 compilation discs where classic tracks by Verve artists are remix
Remix
A remix is an alternative version of a recorded song, made from an original version. This term is also used for any alterations of media other than song ....

ed by contemporary electronic music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

 DJs. By the mid-2000s, there was an extensive "Verve Vault" section on iTunes.

Today


Today, Verve is one of the world's leading jazz labels. The GRP imprint mainly releases smooth jazz nowadays along with UMG catalog items not including ABC Records
ABC Records
ABC Records was an American record label, founded in New York City in 1955 as ABC-Paramount Records. It originated as the main popular music label operated the Am-Par Record Corporation, the music subsidiary of the American Broadcasting Company . ABC-Paramount Records' first president was Samuel H....

 or PolyGram
PolyGram
PolyGram was the name of the major label recording company started by Philips from as a holding company for its music interests in 1945. In 1999 it was sold to Seagram and merged into Universal Music Group.-Hollandsche Decca Distributie , 1929-1950:...

 titles.

The Verve imprint itself manages much of the jazz catalog that once belonged to PolyGram (not including recordings by Herb Alpert
Herb Alpert
Herbert "Herb" Alpert is an American musician most associated with the group variously known as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, or TJB. He is also a recording industry executive — he is the "A" of A&M Records...

 for his A&M Records
A&M Records
A&M Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group that operates under the mantle of its Interscope-Geffen-A&M division.-Beginnings:...

 label which Alpert acquired in a legal settlement with Universal Music and are licensed to Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory is an entertainment company founded in 2003 that was started by Richard Foos , Bob Emmer and Garson Foos initially as a specialty music label...

), while the Impulse! Records
Impulse! Records
Impulse! Records was an American jazz record label, originally established in 1960 by producer Creed Taylor as a subsidiary of ABC-Paramount Records, based in New York City...

 imprint manages the portion of Universal's catalog that was acquired from ABC Records
ABC Records
ABC Records was an American record label, founded in New York City in 1955 as ABC-Paramount Records. It originated as the main popular music label operated the Am-Par Record Corporation, the music subsidiary of the American Broadcasting Company . ABC-Paramount Records' first president was Samuel H....

, which itself includes the jazz catalog of the Famous Music
Famous Music
Famous Music was the worldwide music publishing division of Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom since 1994. Its copyright holdings span several decades and includes music from such Academy Award-winning motion pictures as The Godfather and Forrest Gump...

 Group, once owned by Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

/Gulf+Western
Gulf+Western
Gulf and Western Industries, Inc., for a number of years known as Gulf+Western, was an American conglomerate.- History :Gulf and Western's prosaic origins date to a manufacturer named Michigan Bumper Co. founded in 1934, though Charles Bluhdorn treated his 1958 takeover of what was then Michigan...

, but was sold to ABC in 1974. Meanwhile, GRP manages the rest of MCA/Universal's jazz catalog, including releases once issued on the Decca
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 and Chess
Chess Records
Chess Records was an American record label based in Chicago, Illinois. It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz releases....

 labels.

In July 2011, media reports announced that producer and songwriter David Foster
David Foster
David Walter Foster, OC, OBC , is a Canadian musician, record producer, composer, singer, songwriter, and arranger, noted for discovering singers such as Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, and Charice Pempengco; and for producing some of the most successful artists in the world, such as Céline Dion, Toni...

had been hired to head the label and that under Foster's guidance, its focus was expected to shift from jazz to adult contemporary pop.

External links