In 2009, Blue Note Records will commemorate both the 70th anniversary of the label’s founding by Alfred Lion, as well as the 25th anniversary of its re-launch in 1984 under current president Bruce Lundvall, with a global celebration. Blue Note began as a small independent label, and its first recording session took place on January 6, 1939.
The coming year will feature the music, imagery and legend of Blue Note with a range of multimedia offerings, including live concerts, special digital and physical re-issues and new releases, The Blue Note 7 (an all-star tribute band of current jazz luminaries), book releases, festival honors, merchandise and more.
The Blue Note 7 begins its worldwide tour on January 7. The band comprises pianist and musical director Bill Charlap with trumpeter Nicholas Payton, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash. The tour will hit 50 U.S. cities capped off with a weeklong run at Birdland in New York City from April 14-19. A European tour is planned for October and November. On January 13, the septet will be release Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records, an eight-song collection of re-envisioned Blue Note classics.
On January 27, Blue Note artists Lou Donaldson and Dr. Lonnie Smith will appear at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Other artists who will perform in New York City throughout the month of February include Anita Baker, Terence Blanchard, Bill Charlap, Robert Glasper, Norah Jones, Joe Lovano, Lionel Loueke, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Willie Nelson, Aaron Parks, Dianne Reeves, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Cassandra Wilson. Venues will include Birdland, the Blue Note Jazz Club, Iridium, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Standard, Town Hall, and the Village Vanguard.
As part of celebratory Grammy Week events, The Recording Academy will spotlight the jazz genre by dedicating its 2009 Grammy Salute To Jazz to Blue Note Records. The event—which will be held February 3 in Los Angeles—will feature a live performance by the Grammy Jazz Ensemble featuring Joe Lovano and other special guests, as well as a special presentation of The Recording Academy President’s Merit Award to Bruce Lundvall.
Throughout 2009 several major Jazz festivals will pay tribute to Blue Note Records, including the 6th annual Portland Jazz Festival in Portland, Ore. (February 13-22), the Blue Note Records Festival in France (March 30-April 11), the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City, Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, Calif., and multiple festivals in Europe.
Blue Note states that more offerings will be announced throughout the year. For more information, visit www.bluenote.com.