Picture for category Blue Note Records

Bossa Nova/Blue Note Records

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Blue Note Records was founded in 1939 by two German emigres - Francis Wolff and Alfred Lion. Arriving in New York the year before in one of the last boats to freedom from Germany, they brought with them an enthusiasm for swing music, stride piano and the new nascent sounds of bebop. The first 78s they produced were by pianists Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons and Earl Hines. Recordings by saxophonist Sidney Bechet and the Port of Harlem Jazz Men followed quickly. Tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec was also a talent scout for the label and encouraged them to embrace the new sounds of bebop, leading them to the music of pianist Thelonious Monk and the early iterations of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers while still recording some of the finest work by the more traditional artists on the label. By the early 1950s, they had fully embraced the young modernist players such as Miles Davis, Lou Donaldson, Horace Silver, Bud Powell and Milt Jackson. Blue Note was an active label until they were purchased by Liberty Records in 1967 when Lion retired and Wolff's role was diminished. Liberty, part of United Artists, was acquired by EMI Records in 1967. The label was revived by president Bruce Lundvall at EMI/Capitol Records in 1985. It is still an influential label in the jazz industry, now headed by musician/producer Don Was.

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