In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Blue Note Records, today sees the global launch of iTunes.com/BlueNote, an iTunes destination dedicated to serving as the premiere source for Blue Note music with exclusive offerings and the goal of making every Blue Note title available in one place. Over 100 Blue Note albums will be Mastered for iTunes, ensuring delivery of the music to listeners with increased audio fidelity, more closely replicating what the artists, recording engineers, and producers intended. iTunes Radio will also feature one of the first label branded radio stations with Blue Note Radio (iTunesRadio.com/BlueNote), a station that streams tracks spanning 75 years of The Finest In Jazz.
The Blue Note destination will highlight current and classic releases, including a monthly Artist Spotlight that begins today with a look at the landmark Blue Note recordings of the legendary keyboardist and composer Herbie Hancock, whose Blue Note catalog includes his debut album Takin’ Off which was recorded 1962, and comprises numerous classics such as My Point Of View, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage, and Speak Like A Child.
Now Hear This: Blue Note Records, a monthly podcast from Don Was, will present the unique perspective of Blue Note’s President. “We are incredibly grateful to iTunes for the unique commitment they have made to the artists and music of Blue Note,” said Was. “The potential of a destination like of iTunes.com/BlueNote is profound and we expect this to have a global impact on the way fans discover, acquire and dig our music.”
New catalog releases featured today at iTunes.com/BlueNote include a 75-track anniversary collection titled Blue Note 75 that spans the label’s entire history as well as six exclusive introductory 10-track Blue Note 101 compilations. A series of Blue Note Select collections will also be featured beginning with Miles Davis’ Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums on May 19, and Clifford Brown’s Brownie Speaks: The Complete Blue Note Recordings, which will be released June 10.
Blue Note Radio—one of the first label branded stations on iTunes Radio—will stream tracks covering all 75 years of Blue Note Jazz from Thelonious Monk to Robert Glasper. The station will continually grow as new music is released, including recent albums from Ambrose Akinmusire (the imagined savior is far easier to paint), Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band (Landmarks), and Takuya Kuroda (Rising Son), as well as upcoming releases from Bobby Hutcherson/David Sanborn/Joey DeFrancesco, Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas, Jason Moran, Wayne Shorter, and more.
Blue Note Records was founded when a German immigrant named Alfred Lion produced his first recording session with two boogie woogie pianists on January 6, 1939 in New York City. Blue Note has gone on to represent The Finest In Jazz, tracing the entire history of the music from Boogie Woogie, Hot Jazz and Swing, through Bebop, Hard Bop, Post Bop, Soul Jazz, Avant-Garde, and Fusion, and into Jazz’s numerous modern day incarnations.
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 (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. 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. Together they created a vivid Blue Note identity. The whole could not have existed without each of the parts.
Blue Note’s legendary catalog includes a true Who’s Who of Jazz history: Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Jimmy Smith, Dexter Gordon, Grant Green, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Donald Byrd, Andrew Hill, Ornette Coleman, 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 Jazz label in the world. Blue Note is still home to some of the most prominent stars and cutting-edge innovators in Jazz today, and at the same time has broadened its horizons to include quality music in many genres.
Under Lundvall’s stewardship, Blue Note had its share of commercial successes from Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Us3, Medeski Martin & Wood, Norah Jones, Al Green, Anita Baker, Amos Lee, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis. The label also remained a haven for the most creative voices in Jazz including Ambrose Akinmusire, Patricia Barber, Brian Blade, Terence Blanchard, Don Byron, Kurt Elling, Robert Glasper, Stefon Harris, Charlie Hunter, Lionel Loueke, Joe Lovano, Jason Moran, Greg Osby, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, John Scofield, Jacky Terrasson, Chucho Valdes, and many more.
In 2011, veteran record producer and musician Don Was joined Blue Note as Chief Creative Officer and soon became President of the label with Lundvall continuing to provide guidance as Chairman Emeritus. 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.” In the 21st century Lion’s words still ring true and provide a blueprint that includes Robert Glasper Experiment’s and José James’ visionary melding of Jazz, R&B, and Hip-Hop and Elvis Costello’s funky collaboration with The Roots, as well as bringing both the legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson back to the label where they made their early classic albums, and continuing to sign singular voices in Jazz such as saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and vocalist Gregory Porter. Blue Note Records is one of the flagship labels of the Capitol Music Group.
~ Blue Note