Blue Note

Bart Babinski

Manfred Eicher is the founder and producer at ECM Records, but the word that best describes his role at the label might be “auteur.”

Mathieu Bitton

When Don Was took the helm at Blue Note Records not quite a decade ago, it looked from the outside like a trusted industry vet moving up from the control room to the board room. That wasn’t the way he saw it, though.

Elliot Ross

A few years ago, cornetist and composer Ron Miles managed what I consider something of a hat trick. He played on, and helped define, not one but three extraordinary jazz albums — all of which landed on my year-end best in 2017.

Francis Wolff / Blue Note Records

Not many small groups were working harder in the late 1950s, to greater acclaim, than Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.

George Lederer / WBGO

Seeking holiday inspiration? We’ve got you covered.

Here is an array of covetable boxed sets, books and special editions for the jazz, soul, blues or gospel fan in your life — at various price points, covering a range of eras and styles.  

Daniel Azoulay

Artemis, the all-star septet formed by pianist Renee Rosnes, has signed to Blue Note Records.

In a statement released today, the label confirmed that the group — also featuring vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, clarinetist Anat Cohen, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Allison Miller — will release its debut album next year.

Autumn brings a cornucopia for jazz fans. 

Must-have albums, can’t-miss festivals, sounds both old and new. WBGO has gathered 88 highlights for your enjoyment, with expert commentary. (Pumpkin spice sold separately.)

Frans Schellekens / Redferns/Getty

Tony Williams already had a secure place on the Mount Rushmore of jazz drumming when he died, of cardiac arrest after routine surgery, in 1997.

He was only 51, but seasoned in the spotlight, with an imposing track record spanning several decades. He had been a head-turning prodigy with a genius for locomotion, rocketing to fame under the wing of Miles Davis, who later attested: “A drummer like Tony comes around only once in 30 years.”

Courtesy of Blue Note Records

As record labels experiment with formats and strategies in an online-streaming age, one major player in jazz is investing in what you might call a super-premium product tier. Blue Note Records has announced Blue Note Review, an objet d’art available only by subscription, twice a year, in a limited edition of 1,500 copies.

The Blue Note All-Stars released their official debut, Our Point of View, not quite a month ago, and one key takeaway from the album was the enduring shadow cast by Wayne Shorter.

Every musician in the group, from trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire to guitarist Lionel Loueke, is a student of Shorter’s legacy as a composer. The album features a brisk reworking of his “Witch Hunt,” from the 1966 album Speak No Evil, and Shorter even makes a cameo — along with a musical soul mate, Herbie Hancock — on a spooky version of “Masqualero.”

NPR

Almost every era of jazz has its resident Blue Note crew: artists who embody the beating heart of that label’s sound.

Janette Beckman

Drummer Louis Hayes will celebrate his 80th birthday at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola later this month.  It’s also a CD-release party for his solo debut on Blue Note Records, Serenade for Horace.

Hayes was 20 when he recorded his first drum tracks for Blue Note — on 6 Pieces of Silver, by the Horace Silver Quintet. He had been behind the kit with the band for some time when the record hit stores.