Vancouver International Film Festival

Dates and Venues September 27 - October 12, 2018 | The Centre In Vancouver For The Performing Arts, The Cinémathèque, Cineplex Odeon International Village, Vancouver Playhouse, Rio Theatre, SFU's Goldcorp Centre for The Arts & Vancity Theatre

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

Switzerland/USA/UK, 2018, dir. Sophie Huber, 85 mins

Dates and Venues 6 October 12:30pm at The Rio, 11October 6:45pm at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Reviewer John Jane

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes is Sophie Huber’s fine documentary of the Iconic jazz record label established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff. The company was sold to Liberty Records at the height of its heyday, but is now operated by Decca. The film shows how jazz fans Lion and Wolff emigrated from Germany before WWII, settled in New York and together started up a recording studio signing black urban jazz musicians. Many of these musicians revolutionised and redefined jazz music.
Huber’s film features interviews with musician and record producer Don Was, renowned jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter and pianist and bandleader Herbie Hancock. Particularly worth seeing is the film footage of performances of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers’ “Moanin” and Horace Silver’s “Song for my Father.”
Thankfully, the film doesn’t dwell on Blue Note’s dormancy from 1979 until 1985, but actually ends on an optimistic note with the company embarked a reissue program. The film closes with an interview with Norah Jones, one of their recently signed musicians.

© 2018 John Jane