Blue Note is one of the great record labels, boasting a long list of unforgettable and influential releases and an equally impressive roster, one which if perused alphabetically reads like a ‘Who’s who’ of eminent postwar jazz artists. Founded in 1939, its name is derived from the musical description of playing a note at a slightly lower pitch than the major scale, common in jazz as a means to a more expressive and emotive way of interpreting a piece of music. The label’s legacy extends beyond jazz, though: some of the biggest hip hop heavyweights, from Pete Rock to J Dilla, Questlove to Madlib, have reinterpreted a small part of the label’s bountiful output in an effort to reintroduce jazz music to a younger audience.
Grant Green - Idle Moments
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin
The interspersed silence in jazz is as important as the notes being struck, and the resulting freedom obtained is simultaneously a musician’s dream and nightmare… where do I go from now? The three cuts above are choice examples of what happens when the musicians in question relish the challenge. To me, jazz is synonymous with long walks, train rides, ferry crossings - journeys. The sense of the unknown, but of the rushing excitement of diving head first into it, is imbued in these three tracks, in the musical notes and the silences that surround them.