Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes
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Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, a stylish and engaging new documentary by Sophie Huber, opens in the recording studio, with a top-tier crew of modern jazz musicians going about their business. From his station behind a keyboard rig, Robert Glasper calls out ideas for an arrangement; Ambrose Akinmusire's trumpet, warming up, can be heard in the background. An establishing shot introduces Don Was, the musical polymath serving as Blue Note's president, as a hipster Buddha in the control booth.
As Was explains to the camera, we're watching a session for the Blue Note All-Stars, a group with an obvious name and celebratory purpose, having originally been assembled in commemoration of the label's 75th anniversary. Now, the pacesetting jazz label is celebrating its 80th, and among its related promotions and corporate tie-ins — vinyl reissues, branded playlists, album-cover art prints, a limited-edition watch — is this film.