Jazz and Blues is an 100 percent an American legacy within the musical landscape. Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, Jimmy Smith, Theolonius Monk, Miles Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, Bud Powell, John Coltrane are just a few of artists signed signed to Blue Note Records, a label strictly dedicated to fostering, recording and preserving the legacy of jazz/blues for prosperity.
Robert Glasper so eloquently stated, ‘The one thing that all the greats did was never let go of who they are and never shy away from their experiences. Your experiences and what you’ve been through in your life make you sound they way you sound….most the great art comes out of messed up situations. You just need to be released from that…to go somewhere. Jazz and Hip-Hop are born out of that.’
Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes takes us beyond the angst and melodious tones of this iconic genre of music into the psychological, emotional experiences and discovery of two German impresarios who fled the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany in the 30’s and founded Blue Note Records in New York City.
Looking for freedom, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff found that solace and freedom through jazz, which they were introduced to in Berlin. Being rabid fans and not knowing anything about the record industry, what they did understand was the trusting in the musicians.
Directed by Sophie Huber, the doc is primarily comprised on interviews with some of the most revered in the industry, vintage footage and photographs we are enlightened into how jazz music was emerging from these great artists without the feeling of pressure or shackles. A concept that appears foreign in the musical landscape today. Various subjects reminisce about recording sessions, working with various musicians, cover designs and the evolution.
What I didn’t expect was learning due to creative discrepancies Wolff and Lion stepped away form the genre and music they adored. Bruce Lundvall resurrected the label in the 80’s and caught on very quickly that hip hop artists loved sampling jazz from Blue Note Records. Ode to Billie Joe by Lou Donaldson is one of the most sampled cuts of all time from a Blue Notes recording artists. Lundvall also recognized that the manner in which Wolff and Lion made Blue Notes a success needed to be re-integrated. Once again the artists were dealt with as artists and not a means to make a buck.
Signing Norah Jones simply based on her artistry and not numbers on a sheer gut reaction to her demo resulting in the Grammy winner sweeping the awards in every category.
Sophie graciously gave me a few moments of her time to chat about this historically entertaining doc…
Opening June 28th exclusively in Los Angeles at the Laemmele Monica, for more screening dates and news please pop over to bluenoterecords-film.com.