Since its establishment in 1939, Blue Notes Records has been the epitome of jazz music. Blue Note has influenced musicians, filmmakers, actors and even athletes. Yet hardly anyone knows that two German emigrants founded the label. The story of BLUE NOTE is the story of Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, two German Jews, who emigrated from Berlin to New York in 1939 and turned their love for jazz into a profession. They found a new home in the music of the oppressed minority of black America. Though they didn’t have any money, connections and or were really speaking English, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff started recording the music of at this time unknown artists. Today the same list of artists reads like a „who is who“ of jazz: Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollings, Hank Mobely, Ornette Coleman, Lou Donaldsen, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Tony William – they all began their musical career as nobodies in the recording studio of Alfred Lion. Julian Benedikt’s film tells the story of the legendary New York record label. Musicians, friends, partners and fans of the BLUE NOTE records get a word and thus revive an era of American cultural history.

With: Wayne Adams, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Belden, Joachim-Ernst Berendt, Hans Borgelt, Ron Carter, Joe Chambers, William Claxton, Bob Cranshaw, Maurice Cullaz, Michael Cuscuna, Thea Dispeker, Rudy Van Gelder, Lorraine Gordon, Ira Gitler, Johnny Griffin, Hermann Haarmann, Tim Hagens, Herbie Hancock, Al Harewood, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Jay Jay Johnson, Konrad Kellen, Charlie Lourie, Ruth Lion, Gill Melle, Brigitte Mira, Marion McClinton, Taj Mahal, Francis Paudras, Eric Person, André Previn, Henri Renaud, Max Roach, Stan Ricker, Carlos Santana, DJ Smash, Horace Silver, Bertrand Tavernier, Tommy Turrentine, Cassandra Wilson.

Archive material: Albert Ammons, Frank Wolff, Al Lion, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Art Blakely, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Andrew Hill, Pete Johnson, Elvin Jones

BLUE NOTE – A STORY OF MODERN JAZZ has been screened successfully in cinemas and won several awards.

– 1998 VISION Award (National Association of Minorities in Communication)
– 1998 PEABODY Award (The University of Georgia)
– 1997 C.I.C.A.E. Award (International Confederation of Art Cinemas)

– 1998 GRAMMY Nomination („Best Long Video“)
– 1998 ROCKY Nomination (BANFF Television Festival)

© 1996/ 1997, 90 min.

Production: EuroArts Entertainment
In co-production with: Arte, SDR, BRAVO Television USA, DR, EMI Blue Note, EMI Toshiba
Producer: Ulli Pfau
Director: Julian Benedikt
Camera: William Rexer II, Georg Steinweh
Editing: Andrew Hulme
Format: S-16 mm / 35 mm / Color

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