NEW SERIES CELEBRATING THE 80th ANNIVERSARY OF BLUE NOTE RECORDS
BEGINS MAY 10 WITH TITLES GROUPED BY THEMES: BLUE NOTE DEBUTS,
BLUE GROOVES, GREAT REID MILES COVERS, BLUE NOTE LIVE, AND DRUMMER LEADERS
In honor of Blue Note Records’ 80th Anniversary, the legendary Jazz label is launching the Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series. Distinct from the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series, this 2nd series curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman features mid-priced 180g vinyl releases in standard packaging with albums spanning the many eras of the label’s history presented by themes: Blue Note Debuts, Blue Grooves, Great Reid Miles Covers, Blue Note Live, and Blue Note Drummer Leaders. The series launches May 10 with the reissue of 3 remarkable Blue Note debuts—Herbie Hancock Takin’ Off, Dexter Gordon Doin’ Allright, and Robert Glasper Canvas—and will continue with 3 albums released each month for the coming year.
Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series:
May 10 – Blue Note Debuts, Part 1
- Dexter Gordon – Doin’ Allright (1961)
- Herbie Hancock – Takin’ Off (1962)
- Robert Glasper – Canvas (2005)
June 14 – Blue Note Debuts, Part 2
- Johnny Griffin – Introducing Johnny Griffin (1956)
- Freddie Hubbard – Open Sesame (1960)
- Grant Green – Grant’s First Stand (1961)
July 12 – Blue Grooves, Part 1
- Lonnie Smith – Think! (1968)
- Reuben Wilson – Blue Mode (1969)
- Bobbi Humphrey – Blacks And Blues (1973)
August 9 – Blue Grooves, Part 2
- Lou Donaldson Alligator Bogaloo (1967)
- Donald Byrd Ethiopian Knights (1971)
- John Scofield Hand Jive (1993)
September 13 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 1
- Freddie Hubbard – Hub-Tones (1962)
- Kenny Dorham – Una Mas (1963)
- Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Indestructible (1964)
October 11 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 2
- Jutta Hipp – Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims (1956)
- Herbie Hancock – Inventions & Dimensions (1963)
- Joe Henderson – In ‘n Out (1964)
November 8 – Blue Note Live, Part 1
- Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World (1960)
- Horace Silver Doin’ The Thing (1961)
- Grant Green Alive! (1970)
December 13 – Blue Note Live, Part 2
- Jimmy Smith – Groovin’ At Smalls’ Paradise (1957)
- Lonnie Smith – Live at Club Mozambique (1970)
- Lee Konitz – Alone Together (1996)
January 10, 2020 – Drummer Leaders, Part 1
- Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Buhaina’s Delight (1961)
- Pete La Roca – Basra (1965)
- Tony Williams – Foreign Intrigue (1985)
February 14, 2020 – Drummer Leaders, Part 2
- Art Taylor – A.T.’s Delight (1960)
- Elvin Jones – Mr. Jones (1972)
- Brian Blade – Brian Blade Fellowship (1997)
March 13, 2020 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 3
- Jackie McLean – A Fickle Sonance (1961)
- Dexter Gordon – A Swingin’ Affair (1962)
- Lee Morgan – The Rumproller (1965)
April 10, 2020 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 4
- Andrew Hill – Smokestack (1963)
- Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata (1964)
- Larry Young – Into Somethin’ (1964)
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Other highlights of Blue Note’s 80th Anniversary celebrations include:
- Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series: “Tone Poet” Joe Harley—co-founder and co-producer of the acclaimed Music Matters audiophile vinyl series—is the producer of this series of all-analog, mastered-from-the-original-master-tape 180g audiophile vinyl reissues in deluxe gatefold packaging. Mastering is by Kevin Gray (Cohearent Audio) and vinyl is manufactured at Record Technology Incorporated (RTI). The titles were handpicked by Harley and cover lesser-known Blue Note classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note catalog. The series began in February with the release of Wayne Shorter Etcetera and Chick Corea Now He Sings, Now He Sobs. Upcoming titles include Sam Rivers Contours, Gil Evans New Bottle Old Wine, Joe Henderson The State of the Tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume 2, and Cassandra Wilson Glamoured. See the full list of titles at bluenote.com.
- Blue Note Review: The 2nd edition of our vinyl boxset subscription series Blue Note Review: Volume Two – Spirit & Time is currently available at bluenotereview.com. Curated by Don Was, the set encapsulates the past, present, and future of Blue Note by celebrating the brilliant late-career albums of the legendary Tony Williams with a tribute album by current drummers, as well as audiophile reissues of Africaine by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Patterns by Bobby Hutcherson, the book Spirit & Time: Jazz Drummers On Their Art, the zine Out of the Blue, a set of Topps Blue Note Trading Cards, and a Blue Note carbon fiber anti-static record brush. The 3rd edition of the Blue Note Review will focus on the legacy of the label in honor of the 80th anniversary.
- Canvas Art Prints of Classic Blue Note Album Covers: A new series of limited-edition wall art that celebrates the iconic imagery of Blue Note’s classic era. Blue Note is offering archival-quality, framed canvas prints in dynamic scale (22”x22”, 32”x32”, 42”x42”) that present the legendary album cover designs of Reid Miles and photography of Francis Wolff. 12 album covers are currently available in the Blue Note Store with additional prints to be made available later this year.
- Blue Note X G-SHOCK G-STEEL Timepiece: Casio G-SHOCK has unveiled a new limited-edition Blue Note Records G-STEEL men’s watch made in honor of our 80th Anniversary. The unique timepiece nods to both iconic brands by featuring bright blue accents and engravings of the G-SHOCK and Blue Note logos. Watch the video celebrating the new Blue Note X G-SHOCK timepiece starring Blue Note artists Charles Lloyd, Kendrick Scott, and lophiile. Stream the playlist Daddy Kev’s Blue Note X G-SHOCK Mix that was inspired by the collaboration. The watch will be available for purchase starting in March at select jewelers, fashion boutiques, the G-SHOCK Soho Store and gshock.com.
- Vinyl Me, Please x Blue Note 80 Series: A special partnership with the record club Vinyl Me, Please who will offer an exclusive Blue Note vinyl reissue series featuring six titles curated by Don Was that span the many eras of Blue Note history. Pre-order will begin in early 2019.
- Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes Documentary: Director Sophie Huber’s insightful documentary Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, which premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, will see wider distribution this year with theatrical runs, festival showings, TV broadcasts, streaming premieres, and a DVD release in the Fall. More info at bluenoterecords-film.com.
- Blue Note 80th Anniversary Tour: This Fall, a triple-bill of current Blue Note artists—Kandace Springs, James Francies, and the newly-signed James Carter—will embark on a U.S. tour of performing arts centers around the country.
- Blue Note Tent at Monterey Jazz Festival: The return of the popular Blue Note Tent at the venerable Monterey Jazz Festival in September will feature anniversary programming including special artist conversations and performances, a screening of Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, and more.
- Blue Note at Sea: The sold-out 2019 Blue Note at Sea sailed to the Caribbean in January with hosts Don Was, Robert Glasper, and Marcus Miller featuring artist performances, conversations on the history of Blue Note, and screenings of Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes. The 2020 sailing is currently on sale and will feature Glasper, Miller, Gregory Porter, Kamasi Washington, Christian McBride, and more.
- Jazz Classics Blue Note Edition on Spotify: Spotify’s dedicated Blue Note Records playlist Jazz Classics Blue Note Edition has expanded to 80 tracks in honor of our 80th anniversary.
- Blue Note 80: The Finest In Jazz Since 1939 on Apple Music: Apple Music is featuring Blue Note 80: The Finest In Jazz Since 1939, an 80-track tour of Blue Note history in honor of our 80th anniversary.
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It took the joining of many natural forces to create and define one of the greatest Jazz labels there has ever been: Jazz-loving German immigrants on the run from Nazism (Alfred Lion & Francis Wolff), a New Jersey optometrist moonlighting as a recording engineer (Rudy Van Gelder), a classical music-loving commercial designer (Reid Miles), and the most incredible musicians that have ever walked the earth. The elements that each brought to the table—boundless passion and impeccable A&R instincts, elegant and insightful photography, sterling sound quality, strikingly original cover artwork, and consistently transcendent music—were all essential to the label’s early success. Together they created a vivid Blue Note aesthetic. The whole could not have existed without each of the parts.
Blue Note’s legendary catalog traces the entire history of the music from Hot Jazz, Boogie Woogie, and Swing, through Bebop, Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Soul Jazz, Avant-Garde, and Fusion, and into the diverse and vibrant sounds of today. The artists Blue Note recorded represent the pillars of Jazz history: Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Jimmy Smith, Dexter Gordon, Grant Green, Lou Donaldson, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and many more.
After a brief dormancy from 1981-1984 during which producer/historian Michael Cuscuna kept the label’s legacy alive with a series of reissues on EMI, Blue Note returned reinvigorated by the leadership of Bruce Lundvall and has since established itself as the most-respected and longest-running Jazz label in the world, remaining home to some of the most prominent stars and cutting-edge innovators in Jazz while at the same time broadening its horizons to include quality music in many genres. During Lundvall’s 30-year tenure, Blue Note remained a haven for the most creative voices in Jazz, and also had its share of commercial successes from Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Us3, Norah Jones, Al Green, Amos Lee, Medeski Martin & Wood, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis.
The same must be said of Don Was, the consummate music man who joined Blue Note in 2011 as Chief Creative Officer and became President of the label in 2012. With Was at the helm, Blue Note has renewed its dedication to Lion’s original vision that “any particular style of playing which represents an authentic way of musical feeling is genuine expression.” Lion’s words still ring true and provide a blueprint that includes Robert Glasper’s visionary melding of Jazz, R&B, and Hip-Hop; eclectic singers from Norah Jones to Gregory Porter to Kandace Springs; and the full spectrum of instrumental Jazz artists from legends like Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, and Dr. Lonnie Smith to future legends including Ambrose Akinmusire, James Francies, and Joel Ross. Blue Note Records is one of the flagship labels of the Capitol Music Group and Universal Music Group.
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