One of the most important record labels in the history of jazz —and, by extension, that of American music —Blue Note Records has been home to such groundbreaking artists as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell and Art Blakey, as well as present-day luminaries like Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire and Norah Jones.
Since its founding in New York in 1939 by German Jewish refugees 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. Through rare archival footage, current recording sessions and conversations with jazz icons Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and today’s groundbreaking Blue Note musicians, BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES reveals a powerful mission and illuminates the vital connections between jazz and hip hop.
“Makes a point right off that Blue Note Records, the influential jazz label, is still very much a thing of the present… This tidy, thoughtful film gets at jazz’s joy and pain.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times (NYT Critic’s Pick)
“The endless dialogue between music and culture is Huber’s prevailing theme, and it helps lift the film above an exercise in image-burnishing for the label.” – Nate Chinen, NPR
“A loving and involving documentary tribute… One of the charms of this film is the stories the artists tell about each other, such as Monk’s band mates revealing that even they initially had trouble understanding his challenging music.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times