Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

Sophie Huber (2018)

86min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
An apparent boom for jazz documentaries midway through the 2010s has gifted aficionados with portraits of John Coltrane (Chasing Trane), Nina Simone (the Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated What Happened, Miss Simone?) and Lee Morgan (I Called Him Morgan). Of these luminaries, it's tragic trumpeter Morgan who crosses over into this exquisitely tuned-in documentary about the legendary Blue Note label, for which he recorded 25 albums. Childhood friends and German émigrés Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff founded the imprint in New York in 1939 on little more than a love of trad jazz. Blue Note had occasional hits but flourished through its reputation for treating musicians with respect - and for designer Reid Miles's era-defining sleeves, which are deftly animated for Swiss director Sophie Huber's testimony- and music-filled paean. Her clean, clearly captioned history is arranged around a hypnotic contemporary studio session by the likes of Robert Glasper, Marcus Strickland and Herbie Hancock, and overseen by the revived label's new president Don Was. Huber and editor Russell Greene cut the film to the soundtrack's syncopated beat and the handsome result will thrill fans and recruit the casual browser with its potent mix of African-American history and knockout virtuosity.

Cast & Crew

Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock
Norah Jones Norah Jones
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
Don Was Don Was
John Coltrane John Coltrane
Miles Davis Miles Davis
Thelonius Monk Thelonious Monk
Director Sophie Huber
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: MusicFilmNetworkGuidance: SwearingReleased on: 14 Mar 2019