Although he never contributed a note of music to jazz, Norman Granz played a major role in the history of the art form. He instituted the famous Jazz At the Philharmonic concerts, created four record labels (the most famous was Verve), and managed the careers of Ella Fitzgerald. Oscar Peterson and many other jazz musicians.
One of Granz's most significant recording sessions brought together the talents of Fitzgerald, Peterson and Louis Armstrong to present three excellent albums of American popular song in 1956: Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again, and Porgy And Bess--Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Granz fought tirelessly to have jazz performers treated with the same respect as classical musicians, an approach very obviously on display in these albums, in which Ella and Louis forego some of the "happy-go-lucky" elements that had often been a part of their performing style up to that point, to create definitive versions of many of the finest American songs.