The Verve Music Group

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The Verve Music Group or Verve Records is an American music company and record label that originally specialized in jazz productions.


Verve Records, named after the term for a relaxed, lively attitude towards life ( Verve - this term has roughly the same meaning in German, English and French), was founded in 1956 by Norman Granz and was a merger of Granz's previous labels Down Home , Norgran Records (founded in 1953) and his oldest label, Clef Records , which he founded in 1946. The Jazz At The Philharmonic concert recordings (organized by Granz) were released on Clef . How High The Moon with Ella Fitzgerald was the first live record to appear on the market. The conclusion of the contract with Ella Fitzgerald laid the foundation stone for Verve Records; the initially small label gained international renown with the increasing artistic success of Fitzgerald .

The first Verve Records production became a bestseller and is considered a classic of American jazz: " Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook ". Further recordings by Fitzgerald later ensured the success of the new label. Born by Verve, Ella was the first female jazz singer to receive the Grammy Award in 1958 for her Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin interpretations . A total of seven recordings by the jazz singer paved the way for the Verve label.

In the early 1960s, Verve began to diversify its range of products , always in competition with the Blue Note Records label ; the label began producing folk, lyric and cabaret records and also jumped on the bandwagon of rock 'n' roll . Granz sold his company Verve to the MGM media group in 1961 for about 3 million US dollars and initially withdrew completely from the record business in order to fulfill the contract. Under the new direction of Creed Taylor , stars like Stan Getz have been signed. Taylor knew about excellent jazz productions. Nevertheless, he left the label in 1967, but previously founded a style-alien "sub-label" called Verve Folkways (later renamed Verve Forecast) with folk music in the repertoire. Taylor's most successful productions include a. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass . At the end of the 1960s, Verve also produced recordings by music groups such as The Velvet Underground or Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention ; At the time, these were perceived as extremely experimental.

In 1972 the label was taken over by the PolyGram group; initially there were no more production activities. After the CD emerged in the early 1980s, Verve tied back to the old success story with back catalog recordings of many of his jazz tracks. On the initiative of Jean-Philippe Allard , the record label successfully picked up on current trends from the end of the 1980s - in addition to remastered tracks from the old catalog.

Since 1997 the label has published an annual sampler entitled "Verve Today YYYY" (YYYY is a placeholder for the respective year), on which the Verve Music Group presents an excerpt from the current program. These samplers have now achieved their own status, on the one hand they reflect the current musical development of the label, on the other hand they usually bring together highlights of the works presented.

In 1998 the music label Verve was merged with Seagram's Universal Music Group and is now part of a number of other production companies such as Universal Music, impulse !, GRP, EmArcy , Decca , MPS and several other labels under the umbrella of Universal .

In the meantime, the Verve Music Group has positioned itself again as a jazz label in the market. In addition to well-known stars of today's jazz scene, the label is also characterized by the care of old stars (e.g. a new album by Jerry Lee Lewis was released in July 2010 ).

Verve repeatedly introduces artists whose music belongs more to pop or world music . This diversity meets with criticism from some jazz purists, but often enables contractually bound artists to find new ways of creative collaboration.

Jazz collections

The following collections from the Verve catalog have been published by Mosaic Records since 1983:

Produced instrumentalists, soloists and groups (selection)



  • Richard Havers Verve: The Sound of America Munich: Sieveking Verlag 2014; ISBN 978-3-944874-03-6 .
  • English edition: Richard Havers Verve: The Sound of America London: Thames & Hudson 2013; ISBN 978-0500517147

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Review by Mick Brown , The Daily Telegraph , Nov. 8, 2013.