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The Sound of America

Richard Havers

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A highly visual history of Verve Records charting how the label changed the course of modern music and brought the sound of America to the world

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The story of Verve Records is the story of jazz. Verve signed practically every major jazz artist of the fifties and sixties and is home to some of the greatest music ever recorded. Norman Granz, the record label’s founder, also organised hugely influential, high-profile, racially integrated concerts, first at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and then at venues across America and then around the world.

This volume is the ultimate guide to the artists and the music that made Verve great and jazz cool.

Verve have opened up their archive and provided access to some of their rarest material. Features on the label’s key artists and key albums are guaranteed to interest both curious newcomers and dedicated fans – illustrated with both iconic and unseen photographs from some of the finest jazz photographers, classic cover art and ephemera, and insightful timelines.

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'The assemblage of glorious archive photographs, tour posters, album sleeves and ephemera is eye-poppingly beautiful'
Daily Telegraph

'Turns the story of a record label into a gloriously lively history of jazz; the book’s design almost makes you hear the music as you read'
Peter Conrad, Observer (Books of the Year)

'I was sooooo inspired just holding the book and turning the pages that I decided to pick a couple of Verve tracks to play ... I’ll never stop reading this instantly historical and beautifully written book'
Bruce Johnston, The Beach Boys

'Rare and unseen material captured for an in-depth book tracing the history of the legendary jazz label'
Music Week

'A fitting testament to one of the most important imprints in jazz'
Record Collector

'Lavishly illustrated … Granz, who died in 2001, would be proud'
The Times Literary Supplement

'Lavish. Amongst the 1,000 plus rare, famous and unseen photographs in this lovingly assembled history are images more profound than any other music-related output in 2013 ... Designed to foreground the painterly lines of Verve’s peerless cover artist, David Stone Martin, [this book] is a beautiful object, bringing together high-quality reproductions of album sleeves, master tapes, telegrams, contracts, tour photos and dreamy 8 x 10’s of everyone from Herbie Hancock to Blossom Dearie'

'Loaded with images, album covers and profiles of artists, producers and album-cover illustrators. Every essay by Havers includes information you may not have known ... A ton of colour, and all photos are dramatic and probably not familiar '

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback without Jacket

Size: 27.7 x 21.6 cm

Extent: 400 pp

Publication date: 4 November 2013

ISBN: 9780500517147

About the Author

Richard Havers was Universal Music’s jazz consultant. He produced box sets, including '100 Years of the Blues', 'Louis Armstrong – Ambassador of Jazz', 'Ella – The Voice of Jazz', 'Verve ­– The Sound of America', 'Blue Note’s Uncompromising Expression' and a ten-CD career retrospective of Nat King Cole. He wrote numerous sleeve notes and books to accompany album and DVD releases, including many for The Rolling Stones. A prolific music writer he won the Blues Foundation’s Award for Literature in 2002. His articles have been published in the Daily Telegraph, The Times, Goldmine and Record Collector.

Herbert Herbie Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor.

List of Contributors

Herbie Hancock, Max Hole