Blue Note Records

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Blue Note Records is a jazz record label, established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis. Francis Wolff became involved shortly afterwards. It derives its name from the characteristic "blue notes" of jazz and the blues. Blue Note Records is currently owned by the EMI Group and in 2006 was expanded to fill the role of an umbrella label group bringing together a wide variety of EMI-owned labels and imprints specializing in the growing market segment of music for adults.

Historically, Blue Note has principally been associated with the "hard bop" style of jazz (mixing bebop with other forms of music including soul, blues, rhythm and blues and gospel). Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey, Lou Donaldson, Donald Byrd and Grant Green were among the label's leading artists, but almost all the important musicians in postwar jazz recorded for Blue Note on occasion, albeit most often only once.

Contents

History

Early years

Lion first heard jazz as a young boy in Berlin. He settled in New York in 1937, and in 1939 recorded pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis in a one-day session in a rented studio. The Blue Note label initially consisted of Lion and Max Margulis, a communist writer who funded the project. The label's first releases were traditional "hot" jazz and boogie woogie, and the label's first hit was a performance of "Summertime" by saxophonist Sidney Bechet, which Bechet had been unable to record for the established companies. Musicians were supplied with alcoholic refreshments, and recorded in the early hours of the morning after their evening's work in clubs and bars had finished. The label soon became known for treating musicians uncommonly well - setting up recording sessions at congenial times, and allowing them to be involved in all aspects of the record's production.

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