Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Verve: The Sound of America (Review)

Verve: The Sound of America
by Richard Havers; Thames & Hudson Inc., 2013

"Jazz ... brings people together ... with a complete disregard for race, color or creed."
- Norman Granz

Verve: The Sound of America (Thames & Hudson Inc.) is a magnificent new release documenting the history of one of America's greatest record labels. Founded in 1956 by Norman Granz, Verve Records has been home to some of the most prolific names in jazz: Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, and many, many more. Containing over 1,000 illustrations and a series of informative essays on a variety of topics all circling around Verve's incredible catalog - including a foreword by Herbie Hancock - Verve: The Sound of America captures the spirit of jazz, a quintessentially American genre of music. The pages truly come alive with photographs of street scenery and legendary musicians, both in vibrant color and seductive black-and-white. Succinct artist bios and recording notes are paired with gorgeous, high-quality cover artwork, highlighting Verve's abundant vault of material. Even the little things like font and the smooth paper stock help to accentuate the enormity of this book's substance and overall fantastic presentation. Verve: The Sound of America is indeed a treasure trove for any fan of jazz music who would undoubtedly spend hours on end poring over this voluminous delight of a "coffee table book." ― I.R.

Preview a selection of pages from Verve: The Sound of America below:

"A history of Verve Records" with author Richard Havers: