The historic Jazz at the Philharmonic concert and album series are commemorated with the release today (20 April) by Verve Records/UMe of three vinyl albums, first issued in the 1980s.
The three titles are Ella Fitzgerald’s Jazz at the Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set, Lester Young’s Jazz at the Philharmonic: Lester Young Carnegie Blues and the all-star Jazz at the Philharmonic: Blues In Chicago 1955, featuring Oscar Peterson, Illinois Jacquet and Herb Ellis. All three albums are pressed on standard weight black vinyl.
The original concerts were organised by Verve Records founder Norman Granz and took place between 1944 and 1957, during which time an extraordinary array of jazz stars took part. They played a key role in raising the public profile of jazz as an art form, and were among the first high-profile performances that featured racially mixed bands performing for integrated audiences.
The subsequent album releases were licensed to Mercury Records by Granz, who also issued them on his own labels, Norgran, Clef and Verve. The versions released in the 1980s saw Verve dip into the archive to add previously performances previously unheard on disc. Their hallowed status and cultural significance was confirmed in 2010, when the series was chosen by the Library of Congress among that year’s inclusion in the National Recording Registry.
The two-LP Jazz at the Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set now matches the expanded CD edition issued in 2016, with the great singer’s performances from 1949, 1953 and 1957. Ella is heard fronting the bands of such greats as Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Buddy Rich and Hank Jones. The set now includes an essay by journalist Will Friedwald.
Jazz at the Philharmonic: Lester Young Carnegie Blues showcases the tenor saxophonist on stage with such fellow greats as Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and Illinois Jacquet, pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jo Jones. It has highlights from Young’s shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1946, 1953 and 1957.
Jazz at the Philharmonic: Blues in Chicago 1955 is led by Peterson and features frequent partner, guitarist Herb Ellis, and early saxophone innovator Illinois Jacquet. It was recorded at Chicago’s Shrine Auditorium in 1955 and includes a ‘Ballad Medley’ with appearances by Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Roy Eldridge and Flip Phillips.
Also from 20 April, Verve/UMe marks the 60th anniversary of Sarah Vaughan’s classic Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin, first released on Mercury in 1958, with a new vinyl edition of the two-LP studio set, in its original mono mix. The 22-song session highlights Vaughan’s unforgettable renditions of such Gershwin standards as ‘Someone to Watch Over Me,’ ‘I’ve Got A Crush On You,’ ‘Summertime,’ ‘A Foggy Day’ and ‘The Man I Love.’
Explore our Ella Fitzgerald Artist Page.
Track listings for all four releases are as follows:
Jazz At The Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set
1. Norman Granz Introduction Of Ella Fitzgerald #1
2. Robbins’ Nest
3. A New Shade Of Blues
4. Old Mother Hubbard
5. I’m Just A Lucky So-And-So
6. Somebody Loves Me
7.Basin Street Blues
1. Ow! / Introduction Of Ella Fitzgerald
2. Flyin’ Home
3. Oh, Lady, Be Good!
4. Black Coffee
5. A-Tisket, A-Tasket
1. How High The Moon
2. Norman Granz Announcement #5 [Live From Carnegie Hall/1949]
5. Why Don’t You Do Right?
1. A Foggy Day (In London Town)
2. Lullaby Of Birdland
3. The Man That Got Away
4. Hernando’s Hideaway
Jazz At The Philharmonic: Lester Young Carnegie Blues
1. Carnegie Blues
2. Tea For Two
4. I Got Rhythm
1. Lester’s Blues
2. I Cover The Waterfront
3. Lester Gambols
4. Medley: Robbin’s Nest/Polka Dots and Moonbeams/Can’t We Be Friends
Jazz At The Philharmonic: Blues in Chicago 1955
1. The Blues
1. The Modern Set
2.The Ballad Medley: I Didn’t Know What Time It Was/All Of Me/Tenderly/I Can’t Get Started/My Old Flame
3. The Swing Set
Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin
1. Isn’t It A Pity?
2. Of Thee I Sing
3. I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise
4. Someone To Watch Over Me
5. Bidin My Time
6. The Man I Love
1. How Long Has This Been Going On?
2. My One And Only (What Am I Gonna Do?)
4. I’ve Got A Crush On You
1. Aren’t You Kinda Glad We Did? (Side A)
2. They All Laughed (Side A)
3. Looking For A Boy (Side A)
4. He Loves And She Loves (Side A)
5. My Man’s Gone Now (Side A)
1. I Won’t Say I Will But I Won’t Say I Won’t
2. A Foggy Day
3. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off
4. Things Are Looking Up
5. Do It Again
6. Love Walked In