Oscar Peterson & Roy Eldridge


Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson works together with trumpeter Roy Eldridge for this album. It was produced by Norman Granz, who was founder and owner of Pablo records. Now this Granz is quite an interesting figure. He is the founder of Verve Records in 1956, and signed Ella Fitzgerald there as one of his first artists. Verve went on to become the largest jazz collection in existence, now owned by Universal Music Group.

Granz sold Verve in 1960 to MGM, moved to Switzerland. His music days were not over yet, as he founded Pablo records in 1973. It was on this label Oscar Peterson published most of his records. Peterson was already an artist coming out on Verve, so the two knew each other. The story goes that Granz was very good for his artists, specifically for his black artists. In the segregated American society of the Forties he insisted on equal treatment and pay for his black artists. Even when threatened at gunpoint by the police. And the issues were sometimes small details, easily overlooked, like white cab drivers refusing to take his artists as customers, or segregated restrooms in Texas.

Granz met Pablo Picasso in 1968, and the two became friends. I cannot find if his label was named for the Spanish painter, but it is just too much of a coincidence.

Norman Granz died in Geneva Switzerland in 2001.

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