Jazz producer and music impresario Norman Granz was born to Jewish immigrants in Los Angeles and came of age in pre-WWII America. During a time of segregation, fear and war Granz wanted to unite, desegregate and entertain. He arranged desegregated jam sessions in LA that later turned into Jazz at The Philharmonic. He started various record labels including Verve and Clef, and produced albums with many jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. In this feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe highlights the important role Granz played in moving jazz forward and elevating its status as a seminal American art form.
Rabbi Neil Blumofe examines American jazz musician in this week’s Liner Notes short. The composer, arranger and pianist is most well known for his involvement in the bebop era, but also in the swing and hard bop genres. The Cleveland native collaborated with other Liner Notes artists such as Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Golson. He is described as the “romanticist” of he bepop era, as said by saxophonist Dexter Gordon and elaborated upon by Blumofe.
With her ability to banter with the audience and outspoken sense of humor Sarah Vaughn was best described as “sassy.” Her first big break came after she won an amateur night at the famous Apollo Theatre. She would go on to work with such great jazz musicians as Louie Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Count Basie, and create such hits as “Broken Hearted Melody” and “Lover Man.” Though she mostly sang the songs given to her by commercial labels, she showed off her impressive three octave range and brought a flare to the stage filled with laughter, poise, and her own personal kind of charm. Join Rabbi Neil as he discusses the music and life of jazz icon, Sarah Vaughan.
Hank Mobley was a self-taught hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophone player whose sound was situated between that of John Coltrane and Stan Getz. As a bandleader he worked to encourage musicians to develop their concepts and skills past what they may have thought possible, as he created a space for performers to work out their own vision within his compositions. In this short feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe illuminates the importance of those who will not settle for a glory in mediocrity, but who urge others to reach further and extend their concept of what is possible.
Jazz singer, actress, dancer and activist Lena Horne began performing at the Cotton Club in her teens before moving to Hollywood where she work as an actress and also from which she was blacklisted during the Red Scare. Over her long career, that ran from the mid 1930s until 2000, she enchanted audience yet never budged from her principles and beliefs. In this short feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe talks about the revolutionary life and work of Lena Horne.