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Blue Note - A Story of Modern Jazz (1997)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | TV Movie 1 October 1999
"It must 'schwing!'" was the motto of Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, two German Jewish immigrants who in 1939 set up Blue Note Records, the jazz label that was home to such greats as Miles ... See full summary »


Julian Benedikt
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard ... Himself
Gil Mellé Gil Mellé ... Himself (as Gil Melle)
Herbie Hancock ... Himself
Horace Silver Horace Silver ... Himself
Carlos Santana ... Himself
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin ... Himself (as John Arnold Griffin III)
Bertrand Tavernier ... Himself
Ron Carter Ron Carter ... Himself
Maurice Cullaz Maurice Cullaz ... Himself
Ruth Lion Ruth Lion ... Herself - Alfred's wife
Hans Borgelt Hans Borgelt ... Himself - historian
Brigitte Mira ... Herself
Konrad Kellen Konrad Kellen ... Himself - writer
Lorraine Gordon Lorraine Gordon ... Herself - Lion's first wife
Thea Dispeker Thea Dispeker ... Herself - booking agent


"It must 'schwing!'" was the motto of Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, two German Jewish immigrants who in 1939 set up Blue Note Records, the jazz label that was home to such greats as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins.Blue Note, the most successful movie ever made about jazz, is a testimony to the passion and vision of these two men and certainly swings like the propulsive sounds that made their label so famous.The only documentary about the legendary Jazz record label includes original footage from concert recordings by Blue Note label artists, original footage of Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff and interviews with Carlos Santana, Rudy Van Gelder, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock among others.Grammy nominated for "Best Long Form Music Video" in 1997, Blue Note also went on to earn a Peabody Award (1998), Vision Award (1998) and a Rocky Award nomination.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jazz | See All (1) »


Documentary | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 October 1999 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Blue Note See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

DEM 59,112 (Germany), 19 April 1998, Limited Release
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

A Love Note to A Lion
12 June 2010 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

This is not so much a history of Blue Note Records or even a history of jazz in the Blue Note era, but actually a love note to one man never shown in this documentary for more than a moment or two until the end: Alfred Lion, a German expatriate who left his home, eventually came to New York and co-founded Blue Note in 1939 and ran the label until 1967.

True enough, people talk about other things: about the history and venues of jazz, about Thelonius Monk, whom Lion championed despite being told that he had no technique and no technical training (I happen to admire Monk without being able to enjoy him, so I agree with the majority opinion at the beginning). But even when they seem to be talking about other things -- like Kareen Abdul Jabar talking about basketball teams -- it all leads back to Lion.

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