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Blue Note Records: A Foundation Of Jazz
 by: James Watts

In the annals of music history, certain names rise above the rest. In the 1940s, jazz exploded into American pop culture backed by the vision of two men, who believed in its complex rhythms, soaring melodies and mathematical chord progressions. Putting out nearly numerous undying jazz vinyl, Blue Note Records would soon take its rightful place as one of the primary forces in pushing both jazz's popularity and development.

Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, Blue Note instantly grew into a force in the world of jazz. A 1939 session with pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis in a rented studio was the pair's first venture into recording and jazz vinyl. Conventional "hot" jazz and boogie-woogie were the label's first releases. Blue Note's first hit - the infectious performance of "Summertime" by saxophonist Sidney Bechet, which Bechet had been unable to record for the recognized companies - proved to be a breakthrough in the early days of jazz vinyl.

In Blue Note's earliest days, musicians were frequently supplied with alcohol as they recorded late into the night after their evening's work in the clubs and bars. The label quickly became famous for treating musicians unusually well, arranging sessions sometimes that were convenient to working musicians and giving them freedom and input as to the record's production.

While World War II proved to be a disruption to Blue Note's development, by late 1943, the label was back in business recording musicians and supplying jazz vinyl to the armed forces. Willing to record artists and styles that majority of other labels easily passed over, Blue Note brought some of the best musicians the U.S. has ever made to the forefront of the national music scene.

Through the 1940s and 50s, Blue Note found themselves at the forefront of the bebop and hard bop sounds, delivering them around the world on now-legendary jazz vinyl LPs. During the same era, iconic names like Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Hank Mobley, Lou Donaldson and Sonny Rollins all cut sides for the label or sat in as session players. Those recordings, still considered to be the best jazz ever recorded, stand as a witness to Blue Note's reach and influence.

The commercial feasibility of jazz came into questions also while America changed in the coming decades. Blue Note records lay dormant by 1979. But, EMI purchased the company that still owned Blue Note and launched an assertive reissue strategy in 1985. These days, the renaissance's remains in full swing as many of the class jazz vinyl reissues have become mainstays in vinyl albums' resurrection.

About The Author

James Watts is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. He is passionate about Vinyl Albums music and has devoted much of his professional life to helping young artists gain the exposure they need. When not writing or attending shows, Watts can often be found cheering on his beloved Phillies or cooking up one of his signature culinary creations.
The author invites you to visit:


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