Coming to theatres today, Friday, June 14:
BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTE
IDFA, CPH:DOX, Palm Springs, Vancouver, Sound Unseen, SF Jewish
A look back at the influential jazz label.
Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, German Jews with a love for jazz, Blue Note Records became the premier label for the giants of the genre, issuing work by Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, and Herbie Hancock, among several others. Director Sophie Huber recounts Blue Note’s early days, its visionary leaders’ support of art above commerce, and the elements that made the label so memorable, beyond the music, including the bold, evocative album photography and artwork. The project loses its focus, however, when it moves to the present day in an attempt to link the work Lion and Wolff championed with a new generation, resulting in a too cursory look at large portions of the label’s history. Blue Notes has been the subject of several docs, underscoring its influence and the affection music lovers have for the label, and this one no doubt will find some admirers, even if its treatment hits a few wrong notes.