Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes
Directed by Sophie Huber
“This tidy, thoughtful film gets at jazz’s joy and pain.”—Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
Blue Note Records, one of the most important record labels in the history of jazz—and, by extension, that of American music—has been the home of groundbreaking artists such as Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Art Blakey as well as present-day luminaries like Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Norah Jones. This documentary illuminates the vital connection between jazz and hip hop through rare archival footage, current recording sessions, and conversations with Blue Note artists.
Founded in New York in 1939 by Jewish refugees fleeing Germany, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, the history of Blue Note Records goes beyond the landmark recordings, encompassing the pursuit of musical freedom, the conflict between art and commerce, and the idea of music as a transformative and revolutionary force requiring equality and dialogue.
Pairing jazz legends with emerging musicians, the documentary provides an intimate window into the creative process. With Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Don Was. 2018, Switzerland/U.S./U.K., DCP, 85 minutes. Recommended for 12+.