Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

The legendary Blue Note Records celebrates 80th Anniversary with new documentary film released on DVD, Blu-ray & Digital.









“A smart, exhilarating look at an influential label...This documentary directed by Sophie Huber makes a point right off that Blue Note Records is still very much a thing of the present.”—The New York Times (Critic’s Pick) 


“Beyond the Notes lays out exactly what made Blue Note stand apart from other jazz labels — and why its catalogue has taken on an almost sacred quality among musicians and fans.”—Rolling Stone


“Damn-near immaculate music documentary…respectful, crisply told but depth-plumbing history of the label” – The Guardian

New York, NY (July 16, 2019)--Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes explores the vision behind the iconic American jazz record label. Since its inception in 1939, Blue Note created an environment for creativity to flourish, encouraging artists to push creative boundaries in search of uncompromising expressions. The result was music with heart, originality and social conscience.  Following a successful theatrical run, the film will now be released on DVD, Blu-ray & digital globally on September 6th 2019.


The perhaps unlikely originators of Blue Note were two jazz loving German immigrants, Alfred Lion & Francis Wolff, escaping Nazism for a new life in the US.  Their principle of respect for freedom both underpinned the label and won them the friendship & trust of the jazz community.  The original Blue Note team was completed by a New Jersey optometrist moonlighting as a recording engineer (Rudy Van Gelder), a classical music-loving commercial designer (Reid Miles), and of course the most incredible musicians that have ever walked the earth.


Through current recording sessions, rare archives, and conversations with iconic Blue Note artists as well as current label President Don Was, the film reveals an intimate perspective of a label legacy that continues to be vital in today’s political climate.


Legendary artists Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter come together with today’s generation of ground-breaking Blue Note artists such as Robert Glasper and Ambrose Akinmusire. These reflections lead us back to the highly influential figures of the past on which the legacy of Blue Note is built: Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Horace Silver and Miles Davis.


The parallels between jazz and hip hop are also examined, not only in the use of jazz sampling by artists including Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul & Eminem, but in the roots of both genres.


The film represents the values that jazz embodies, and that Blue Note has been promoting since its inception: freedom of expression, equality, dialogue - values we can learn from and that are as relevant today as they were when the label was founded.


*Winner of the German Documentary Award for Best Music Film



The Swiss filmmaker Sophie Huber gained her filmmaking experience as a member of an award-winning Berlin film collective, for which she co-directed several films before directing her debut feature documentary, the critically acclaimed HARRY DEAN STANTON: PARTLY FICTION, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES is Sophie’s second documentary. 

About Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment is the world-leading producer and distributor of music documentary and concert films. Founded in 1997, the multi-award-winning company releases over 50 productions a year and controls the distribution of over 2,000 hours of music programming. The catalogue includes work by award-winning filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brett Morgan, Stanley Nelson, Paul Dugdale, Bob Smeaton, Jeremy Marre, Mike Figgis, Leslie Woodhead and Michael Epstein. Eagle Rock works with a wide spectrum of artists including the Rolling Stones, Eminem, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Muse, Steven Wilson, Slash, Iggy Pop, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, Shania Twain and Van Morrison. Eagle Rock is headquartered in London.