Norman Granz Presents: Improvisation

Gift guide

Music DVDs

Norman Granz Presents: Improvisation

(Laser Swing Productions/Eagle Eye Media)

Jazz impresario Norman Granz and Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili collaborated on an extraordinarily artful, Oscar-nominated short film in 1944 called "Jammin' the Blues." Six years later, the pair was at it again, bringing together for the first time in performance saxophone titans Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker. This marvelous studio date also includes wonderful segments with saxophone president Lester Young, trumpeter "Sweets" Edison, and vocal queen Ella Fitzgerald. It took almost 50 years for the project to be released, and now it's been reissued with added Granz-produced sections, featuring a Duke Ellington Trio performance from 1966, Montreux Jazz Festival all-star jams with Count Basie, Oscar Peterson's small groups from 1977, and a 1979 studio set from Joe Pass and Ms. Fitzgerald. All of it is superb. A second disc features "Jammin' the Blues" plus film rushes and stills from the 1950 session. This is nirvana for jazz lovers.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Fall Platters
Jeff Lofton
Jericho (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Nov. 29, 2019

Texas Platters
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Darkness Falls on the Edge of Time (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Jay Trachtenberg
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

April 16, 2021

Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
A writer's fictional joyride, a rock & roll memoir, and jazz fairy tales are books that sang this year

Dec. 18, 2020


Norman Granz Presents Improvisation

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle