There’s not much I can tell you about the most influential of all jazz labels which hasn’t been said already by all those experts.
Anyway, today is the very day when Mr. Alfred Lion, “Blue Note’s” imaginative founder (together with photographer & initial financier Max Margulis), produced the very first recording session for *thee* jazz label among all jazz labels:
Albert Ammons & Meade “Lux” Lewis (p) – NYC, January 6, 1939.
Since I’m not a big fan of boogie woogie, I will post two tracks from a later, an equally legendary session, which resulted in a minor hit.
Hear now the fabulous Sidney Bechet Quintet from June 8, 1939, and their dreamy version of “Summertime”. — Sidney Bechet (ss) Meade “Lux” Lewis (p) Teddy Bunn (g) Johnny Williams (b) Big “Sid” Catlett (d) — NYC, June 8, 1939.
— We will have another anniversary later this year, also connected to “Blue Note”:
On December 29 in 1944, Sidney Bechet’s Blue Note Jazzmen waxed this similarly timeless number:
“Blue Horizon”. — Sidney DeParis (tp) Vic Dickenson (tb) Sidney Bechet (ss, cl) Art Hodes (p) Pops Foster (b) Manzie Johnson (d) — WOR Studios, NYC, December 20, 1944.
Both tracks – fortunately not yet remastered by Rudy Van Gelder! – can be found on the same 10″-LP whose cover & label I have posted above. And they got exclusively featured in one of my favorite films: Hart’s War (2002).
P.S. — Here’s the all-time greatest “Blue Note” hit, star-trumpeter Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” from 1963. — Its suggestive rhythm made such an impact that Lee had to include such kinda sound in each of his subsequent albums for the label; alas, none of those items became as famous and sold as well as this groovy number which reflected perfectly Mr. Lion’s famous motto:
“It must schwing!” …or, as Miles Davis has put it (on Cannonball Adderley’s legendary album “Somethin’ Else” (Blue Note, 1958):