The greatest jazz label Blue Note Records was founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion, Francis Wolff and Max Margulis. Blue Note headquarters was located in New York City at West 61st Street and at 47th West 63rd street. Their first hit was entitled Summertime played Soprano Saxophonist Sidney Bechet. Saxophonist and composer Gil Melle is quoted saying “out of 1000 records that Alfred produced in the years that he had Blue Note, 950 of them are classics.” Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey, Grant Green, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson and Jackie McLean are among the Blue Note musicians who were paid for rehearsal time before recording sessions. The artwork used for albums covers were shot by Esquire Magazine Artist Reid Miles.
In 1950, the recording industry switched from 10” LP to 12”. Alfred feeling defeated almost sold Blue Note Records to Atlantic Records until he signed organist Jimmy Smith in 1956 who later became the Blue Note best seller. Alfred Lion retired in 1967 after difficulties with Liberty Records, who acquired Blue Note in 1965 and Francis Wolff died in 1971. In 1979, EMI bought Liberty Records and let Blue Note phase out until its relaunch February 22nd,1985 under EMI Manhattan Records by Bruce Lundvall. The label is currently owned by Universal Music Group. They have released music from Norah Jones and Amos Lee.
Guitarist Carlos Santana says “we are three things, animal, human, and light. The resonance which is music ignites the animal in the human to the light. We have light in our body, we have eternal energy in our bodies beyond the molecule. We call it inspiration, vision, we call it things we cannot touch taste or feel which translates to faith. There’s no music more conducive or healing back the molecule with the light other than John Coltrane.” If you have no idea what Mr. Santana is talking about I urge you to go listen to John Coltrane’s Blue Train album.
Blue Note songs I like.
Cantaloupe Island By Herbie Hancock
Scratch My Back By Stanley Turrentine
Jumpin’ Blues By Jimmy Smith
Lou Donaldson Blues Walk
Summertime By Sidney Bechet
Joe Henderson Recorda-Me
Art Blakey Moanin’
Bobby Hutcherson Little B’s Poem, Bouquet
Cecil Taylor Pompos Cantados
Blue Note: A Story Of Modern Jazz [Video file]. (2014, June 11). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b20SGyhLuSc
One Night With Blue Note [Video file]. (2014, June 4). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6kAmdzfvC8
Photo By: Alesh Houdek