Tad Hershorn: Norman Granz (Pt. 1) - JazzWax

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October 03, 2011


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Doug Zielke

Amazon delivered last week and I just started reading Mr. Hershorn's book. So far, I think it may be the best jazz book I have read this year. Considering I have so many recordings in my collection produced by Norman Grantz, yet know almost nothing about him, this book should be a great read.

Jeff Sultanof

Ever since I first met Tad some years ago, we discussed this book, his interviews with Granz and the sheer amount of work he was putting into it. I'm thrilled for him that this book is finally available. It is a major landmark: the chronicle of an important man, his life and his work written with the begrudging cooperation of the man itself.

Allen Lowe

Tadd should have said, "you're probably not as big an a-hole as you present yourself as." But all seriousness aside, if I may diagnose from afar, Granz sounds, in his personal cluelessness, like a classic case of high-functioning Aspergers.

Ed Leimbacher

I'd say it's just As Per Granz... and it's about time. Congrats to Mr. Hershorn for sticking to it and resisting Stormin' Norman's curtness and uncourtly manner. So what if he got rich? You'd have to look long and hard to find a musician who didn't live better and hold his head higher when he toured the world with Granz. Surly or surlier, the man deserves all kinds of credit for his decades of good works in the service of Jazz, and I'm already ordering a copy of this long-awaited dissection and tribute.

Bruno Leicht

Norman Granz's choices of personnel were at least questionable, if not painfully wrong sometimes:

What probably could have been an outstanding late bebop album, Bird & Diz (1951), is now a quite doubtful experience, musically spoken.

Instead of hiring a true bopper on drums, one who would have matched Bird's, Diz's, and Monk's rhythmical world (Art, Kenny, or Max), he engaged fire worker Buddy Rich who never got the sound right at this particular session. He simply doesn't fit.

And we all know how unhappy Lester 'Pres' Young felt during all those "battles" with Flip Phillips. Besides of having given some fellow musicians well paid gigs, all that JATP-sessioning is far too lengthy, and quite tiring to sit through.

Although there can be found without doubt some true musical highlights. But you have to look hard for them.

Curt Strickfaden

"Norman Granz's choices of personnel were at least questionable, if not painfully wrong sometimes"

Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but that seems like an uninformed and shallow judgement.

Takes all kinds, I suppose.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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