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Blue Note: 60 Years and Still Counting Off

Hank Mobley and Pepper Adams
Ike Quebec

In the beginning, it was a labor of love and crusader zeal, launched by jazz-obsessed refugees from Nazi Germany. In January of 1939, Alfred Lion and Francis “Frank” Wolff channeled their intrigue with jazz into the thing they called Blue Note, humbly at first. As time went on, they released important music by many of the giants of jazz, and had honed a sound in Rudy Van Gelder’s now-mythic studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. By the ’60s, Blue Note was an entity that both fed off of and fueled the mythology of what jazz was.

Jazz labels are never about smooth sailing, of course. At the ripe and evermore ripening age of 60, Blue Note Records has been around long enough to have weathered huge life changes, shifts in corporate environment, new eras and sub-eras, and has prevailed. More than any other label in the jazz scene, Blue Note represents the vision and constancy of America’s great music, and the saga continues.

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