Join Pete Cal­lard as he cel­e­brates 75 years of jazz’s great­est-ever la­bel – Blue Note Records, home to Th­elo­nius Monk, John Coltrane, Grant Green and many, many oth­ers.

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Pete Cal­lard cel­e­brates the 75th An­niver­sary of the highly in­flu­en­tial Blue Note la­bel.

THIS YEAR ses the 75th an­niver­sary of ar­guably the most fa­mous and iconic of all jazz la­bels – Blue Note Records. Founded by Al­fred Lion and Max Mar­gulis in 1939, Blue Note’s orig­i­nal fo­cus on trad jazz and swing soon be­came a paragon of for­ward-think­ing mod­ern jazz – par­tic­u­larly the ‘hard-bop’ style. The la­bel is also renowned for its stylish cover art, cour­tesy of artist Reid Miles and of­ten fea­tur­ing images by pho­tog­ra­pher Fran­cis Wolff, which be­came as iconic as the mu­sic it­self and proved hugely in­flu­en­tial in the graphic-de­sign world. Blue Note was bought by Liberty Records in 1965, which was in turn ab­sorbed by United Artists Records in 1969. In 1979, EMI bought United Artists Records and phased out Blue Note, but it was re­launched in 1985 and con­tin­ues to this day, now ex­panded to cover sev­eral la­bels as the Blue Note La­bel Group.

In trib­ute to Blue Note’s 75th an­niver­sary, we’ve put to­gether a Blue Note blues, fea­tur­ing a cho­rus each on a jazz blues in F from some of the la­bel’s big­gest names – start­ing this month with Fred­die Hub­bard, Dex­ter Gordon, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter.

Trum­pet great Fred­die Hub­bard (7 April, 1938 to 29 De­cem­ber, 2008) re­leased nine al­bums for Blue Note in the 1960s as a leader, be­gin­ning with Open Se­same in 1960 and cul­mi­nat­ing with 1965’s live Night Of The Cook­ers. Hub­bard also played on a fur­ther 28 Blue Note re­leases as a side­man in­clud­ing clas­sic record­ings by Art Blakey, Her­bie Han­cock, Wayne Shorter and Dex­ter Gordon. He re­turned to the re­vived Blue Note in the 1980s for a fur­ther four re­leases.

Tenor sax­o­phon­ist Dex­ter Gordon (27 Fe­bru­ary, 1923 to 25 April, 1990) re­leased a se­ries of al­bums in the 1960s for the la­bel, be­gin­ning with Doin’ Al­right in 1961. He also fea­tured on Her­bie Han­cock’s Takin’ Off. The fi­nal record­ings un­der

Blue Note is renowned for its stylish cover art, which be­came as iconic as the mu­sic it­self.

Gordon’s name, from the film Round Mid­night in which he also starred, were re­leased as The Other Side Of Round Mid­night on Blue Note in 1985.

One of the great­est of all jazz mu­si­cians, tenor sax­o­phon­ist John Coltrane (23 Septem­ber, 1926 to 17 July, 1967) re­leased only one al­bum for Blue Note Records – 1957’s sem­i­nal Blue Train – but as it is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered among the most im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial al­bums in jazz his­tory, he de­mands in­clu­sion in any list of Blue Note le­gends.

Wayne Shorter (born 25 Au­gust, 1933) is equally renowned as a com­poser and sax­o­phon­ist. A key mem­ber of Miles Davis’ sec­ond great quin­tet, Shorter’s first record­ing for Blue Note was 1964’s Night Dreamer, and he went on to re­lease 11 al­bums for the la­bel between 1964 and 1970, also fea­tur­ing on Blue Note record­ings by Art Blakey, Fred­die Hub­bard, Lee Mor­gan and McCoy Tyner, among oth­ers. In 2013, Shorter re­turned to Blue Note af­ter more than 40 years, with the live al­bum, With­out A Net.

John Coltrane: Blue Note artist and all-time gi­ant of jazz

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