Blue Note Records has aimed to uphold that distinction over the nearly 70 years since its first recording session. Founded as a small independent label, Blue Note has gone on to become the premiere Jazz label in the world, and also the longest running.
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 slews of the most incredible musicians that have ever walked the earth (too many to name them all here). The elements that each brought to the table—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, 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. After a brief dormancy from 1979-1984, the label returned reinvigorated by the leadership of Bruce Lundvall and has since established itself as the most respected Jazz label in the world, home to some of the most prominent stars and cutting-edge innovators in the music today, and at the same time has broadened its horizons to include good music in any genre.