Verve Records, now the Verve Music Group?is an American Jazz record label owned by the Universal Music Group. It was founded by Norman Granz in 1956, absorbing the catalogues of his earlier labels: Norgran Records and Clef Records (founded 1953) and material which had been licensed to Mercury previously.
The Verve catalog grew throughout the 1950s and 1960s to include most of the major figures in jazz, though Granz tended to record established artists, sometimes in decline, rather than new talent. It also recognized the potential of comedy albums, producing Spike Jones' first LP, Dinner Music For People Who Aren't Very Hungry in 1956 and several best-selling albums featuring live performances by Shelley Berman beginning in 1960.
Granz sold Verve to MGM in 1961 for $3 million. Creed Taylor was appointed as producer, and adopted a more commercial approach, cancelling several contracts. Taylor brought the bossa nova to America with the Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd LP Jazz Samba as well as Getz/Gilberto. Several arrangers of note worked for the Verve label too in the 1960s, including Claus Ogerman and Oliver Nelson. Claus Ogerman, by his own admission in Gene Lees' Jazzletter publication, arranged some 60-70 albums for Verve under Creed Taylor's direction from 1963-1967.
Shortly before leaving Verve in 1967, Taylor supervised the creation of a folk music subsidiary named Verve Folkways (later renamed Verve Forecast) by Verve executive Jerry Schoenbaum. But by now, new recordings began to decline & would cease altogether in the early 1970s.
In the seventies, the label became part of the PolyGram label group, at this point incorporating the Mercury/EmArcy jazz catalog, which Philips, part owners of PolyGram had earlier acquired. Verve Records became the Verve Music Group after PolyGram was merged with Seagram's Universal Music Group in 1998. The jazz holdings from the merged companies were folded into this sub-group.
The label was revived in the mid-1980s for new releases. Yet a more important focus for the new Verve Records was the reissuing of its back catalogue, in ever more imaginative ways. The "Verve By Request" label began to reissue many original Verve bossa nova titles on CD in the late 1990s, and the Elite series revived many obscure albums which had languished for many years.
When Universal and Polygram merged in 1998. Verve's holdings were merged with Universal's GRP Recording Company to became Verve Music Group. This was run by producer Tommy LiPuma. Ron Goldstein was named President of the merged companies.
Since 2002, the label has released a series of Verve Remixed compilation discs where classic tracks by Verve artists are remixed by contemporary electronic music DJs. By the mid-2000s, there was an extensive "Verve Vault" section on iTunes.
In December 2006 parent company Universal Music Group sacked 85% of the staff, reduced the artist roster, and shifted the catalog over to its UME division.
Some of the record labels currently in the Verve Music Group.
Blue Thumb Records
Decca Records (Its jazz holdings only and Decca's pre-1957 Brunswick Records jazz catalogue.)
?List of early Verve artists
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Friend & Lover (Verve Forecast)
The Hombres (Verve Forecast)
Bob Lind (Verve Folkways)
The Mothers of Invention
The Righteous Brothers
The Velvet Underground