Verve (jazz label, aka “Verve Records”, use this for release labels)

~ Label


Verve was founded in Los Angeles in 1953 by Norman Granz, as a jazz-pop counterpart to his other jazz labels (Norgran, Clef and Down Home) (*).
In 1956, short after the arrival of Ella Fitzgerald (whom Granz was managing and who was earlier contracted by Decca), Granz merged his three other labels into Verve as to simplify his business operations.
Focusing on quality jazz artists, Granz signed a lot of important musicians of the era (though more established artists than newcomers) before selling Verve to MGM in 1961 (for 3 millions dollars).

Then operated by Creed Taylor, Verve reoriented toward a more commercial approach, surfing the Bossa Nova wave with quite some success.
Taylor introduced the Verve Folkways subsidiary (then renamed into Verve Forecast) later on in 1967 (short before he left), then Verve declined rapidly during the early 70s (like most historical jazz labels), and ended-up in the PolyGram group (sold to Polydor in 1972), ironically incorporating Mercury (**) and EmArcy (***) catalogs (handed over by Philips).

Revived in the mid 80s, Verve began issuing again a few new releases, and started revisiting its (large) catalog, introducing the successful Verve by Request collection.

After the Polygram/Seagram merge in 1998, Verve was eventually merged with Universal's GRP to form the Verve Music Group, a large holding hosting all Universal jazz assets - though the imprint Verve is still in use nowadays.

Verve (both during the Granz and Taylor periods) was one of the most important jazz label of the bop era, and has a lot of historical records in its vault (including of course the Clef JATP tapes).

(*) A number of resources (following Wikipedia) wrongly report Verve as being created in 1956.
(**) Granz started his career with the small Clef label as a Mercury subsidiary (1946).
(***) not documented yet in ARs

Annotation last modified on 2007-11-03 13:33 UTC.


Castle RockJohnny Hodges and His Orchestra12" Vinyl12
MG V-8139
King of the TenorsBen Webster12" Vinyl8
  • -1953
MG V-8020
Used to Be DukeJohnny Hodges and His OrchestraCD11
Autumn in New YorkTal FarlowVinyl8