V/A: ‘Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes’ – DVD


Only 2 left in stock (can be backordered)

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This incredible music documentary by Swiss film-maker Sophie Huber pays tribute to Blue Note Records, the iconic label known for championing mid-20th-century bebop jazz. Co-founded in 1939 by German-Jewish immigrants Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, Blue Note became a home for artists such as Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

Huber crafts a respectful, crisply told but depth-plumbing history of the label, drawing from original recordings, vintage audio of studio chatter, and talking heads interviews. Those interviewed, especially sound engineer from back-in-the-day Rudy Van Gelder, and the label’s current president, artist-producer Don Was, take pains to outline what made Blue Note sound so distinctive and coherent, given how diverse the roster was.

The feature is made especially cinematic by lashings of candid black-and-white photographs, including many rare shots from the archive’s contact prints, as well as deserved attention given to graphic artist Reid Miles’s striking cover art, an essential contribution to the company’s image. A gorgeous work, and a most enjoyable watch.