One of the most important record labels in the history of jazz—and, by extension, that of American music—Blue Note Records has been home to such groundbreaking artists as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Art Blakey, and Eric Dolphy, as well as present-day luminaries like Ambrose Akinmusire and Norah Jones. Founded in New York in 1939 by German-Jewish refugees Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, Blue Note’s history goes beyond the records, encompassing the struggle of black artists to be heard, the conflict between art and commerce, and the idea of music as a revolutionary force.
Director Sophie Huber lays out the history of Blue Note, from its founding to its latter-day Renaissance, through a treasure trove of gorgeous photographs shot by Wolff, archival performances, interviews with the label’s alums and more recent fans, and excerpts from a contemporary All-Stars session featuring Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Robert Glasper. Invaluable recollections from Shorter, Rudy van Gelder and others who worked on both sides of the studio window, as well as observations from present-day participants, take the audience beyond the music and immerse viewers in the talent and drive that continue to propel the distinct mission of a great American label.
—Brian GordonAfter the Premiere Screening
: A special guest performance by Blue Note artists Robert Glasper
, Kendrick Scott
and Derrick Hodge