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Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

  • Documentary and factual
  • History
  • 2018
  • Sophie Huber
  • 86 mins
  • 15

Summary

Behind-the-scenes documentary exploring the history of the pioneering jazz label, Blue Note, centred around a contemporary studio session featuring Robert Glasper, Marcus Strickland and Herbie Hancock. Contributors include veteran artists and new kids on the block, as well as the label's current president Don Was.

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Review

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

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.

How to watch

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Streaming

Credits

Cast

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Herbie HancockHerbie Hancock
Norah JonesNorah Jones
Wayne ShorterWayne Shorter
Don WasDon Was
John ColtraneJohn Coltrane
Miles DavisMiles Davis
Thelonius MonkThelonious Monk

Crew

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DirectorSophie Huber

Details

Theatrical distributor
MusicFilmNetwork
Released on
2019-03-14
Languages
English
Guidance
Swearing
Available on
DVD
Formats
Colour
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