For his tireless, effective, and classy promotion of first-rate musicians, Norma Granz must surely be one of the great cultural influences of our century, even if no one but jazz types know of him. More admirable (because courageous and selfless)is that he absolutely forbade racial segregation in his audiences and for his musicians. Granz was famous for making sure that ALL his musicians received first-class treatment, without distinction.
And what first-class music his people made! From the "Jazz at the Philharmonic" series to his long tenure with Verve (which he founded), Granz brought together the very, very best jazz musicians, under the best conditions, and let them play what moved them.
This collection is a fine, fine introduction to what Granz accomplished--and extraordinarily fun to hear.
If you're looking for a great intro to jazz, you could do worse than to start here. (For pedagogical purposes, Ken Burns' five-CD set, "The Story of America's Music," is more comprehensive, and it has much to commend it. Listening to that set, though, requires an interest in being educated, as much as an interest in listening to jazz--some of the discs are jarringly uneven in tone, mood, style, and sound quality.)